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Port of Felixstowe workers’ walkout comes to an end; fears for further strike actions in UK

The eight-day strike at the Port of Felixstowe, which started on 21 August, officially ended on 29 August and according to Danish ocean container carrier Maersk, terminal operations have now returned to normal.

Over 1,900 members of the British trade union Unite went on strike after a dispute about a pay increase.

Addressing the striking dockworkers, the general secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham, said, “The company [Felixstowe Ports] is making an absolute fortune. It could pay 50% more on your wages and still be in profit. We are asking for 10%. What is the problem?”

Last week, Sharon Graham noted that the strike could continue until the end of 2022, if Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company, the port operator owned by Hutchison Ports UK Ltd, does not improve its offer.

However, the strike seems to have ended for now without any reports about an agreement between the workers and the port owner and operator.

Unite has warned that further strikes could be announced in the following weeks, if Hutchison Ports does not improve its offer. The Hong-Kong-based company has offered a 7% pay increase plus a £500 (US$577) bonus, while the union demands a 10% increase.

Meanwhile, Port of Liverpool workers are also expected to strike over pay in September, as earlier in August, in a ballot with an 88% turnout, 99% voted for strike action.

"Once again, a profitable company [Peel Group-owned Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (MDHC)] controlled by a tax-exiled billionaire is refusing to give its workers a cost-of-living pay rise," said Sharon Graham of Unite, which represents Port of Liverpool workers.

There are fears that if workers from Felixstowe and Liverpool ports go on strike during the same period, there will be a significant disruption in the United Kingdom's supply chain.

Antonis Karamalegkos
Managing Editor

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