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Supply Chain

Eight-Day Strike Begins At The UK's Felixstowe Port

Workers at Felixstowe, the UK's biggest container port, commenced an eight-day strike action on Sunday, according to media reports.

The staff at Felixstowe, on the east coast of England, are taking industrial action in a dispute over pay, becoming the latest workers to strike in Britain as unions demand higher wages for members facing a cost-of-living crisis, according to Reuters.

"Strike action will cause huge disruption and will generate massive shockwaves throughout the UK's supply chain, but this dispute is entirely of the company's own making," said Bobby Morton, the Unite union's national officer for docks.

"It [the company] has had every opportunity make our members a fair offer but has chosen not to do so."

Pay Rise

On Friday, Felixstowe's operator Hutchison Ports said it believed its offer of a 7% pay rise and a lump sum of £500 ($604) was fair. It said the port's workers union, which represents about 500 staff in supervisory, engineering and clerical roles, had accepted the deal.

Unite, which represents mainly dock workers, says the proposal is significantly below the current inflation rate, and followed a below inflation increase last year.

"The port regrets the impact this action will have on UK supply chains," a Hutchison Ports spokesperson said.

Contingency Plan

The port said it would have a contingency plan in place, and was working to minimise disruption during the walkouts which will last until 29 August.

Shipping group Maersk, one of the world's biggest container shippers, has warned the action would have a significant impact, causing operational delays and forcing it to make changes to its vessel line-up.

Figures released on 17 August showed Britain's consumer price inflation hit 10.1% in July, the highest since February 1982, and some economists forecast it will hit 15% in the first three months of next year amid surging energy and food costs.

The squeeze on household incomes has already led to strikes by the likes of rail and bus workers demanding higher pay rises.

Read More: Aldi UK Announces Pay Rise For Warehouse Staff

News by Reuters, edited by ESM – your source for the latest supply chain news. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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