UK’s largest port faces week-long strike

Felixstowe Port sees mass walkout by workers amid fears of supply chain disruption.

UK’s largest port faces week-long strike

Workers at the UK’s largest port on Sunday began an eight-day strike following disputes over pay rises.

Some 1,900 members of the Unite Union will take part in the industrial action at the Felixstowe Port in the east of England. These include crane drivers, stevedores, and machine operators.

“The latest figures show that in 2020 it (Felixstowe Port) made £61 million (around $72 million) in profits,” Sharon Graham, Unite's general secretary said, adding that the port is “enormous profitable.”

Its parent company, CK Hutchinson Holding Ltd, is so wealthy that, in the same year, it handed out £99 million ($117 million) to its shareholders. So they can give Felixstowe workers a decent pay rise,” Graham said.

The walkout is expected to last until Aug. 29 and is the first strike to affect the port since 1989. Members of Unite voted 9-1 in favor of industrial action following disputes over pay rises with the port’s authorities.

Unite warned that the walkout at the Felixstowe Port, which handles nearly half of all container freight entering the UK, would cause significant supply chain disruption and negatively impact the haulage and logistics sectors of the economy.

The industrial action at the UK’s largest port is the latest following a spate of strikes across the country in the last two months.

Workers across various sectors, including public transport, aviation, healthcare, and law, have staged mass walkouts over the ever-increasing cost of living crisis and a squeeze on real wage growth.