Hundreds of dockers will begin a two-week strike from Monday over a wage dispute, continuing the labor unrest that hit several sectors over the summer.
Members of Unite in the Port of Liverpool will dock from Monday evening, hours after the Queen’s funeral.
Peel Ports Group, which runs the port, said workers had turned down an offer of an 8.3% pay rise, which was supplemented by a one-off payment of £750.
Unite said it was a real wage cut due to rising inflation, arguing that the port’s owners could afford a higher pay rise.
David Huck, the Port’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “I am deeply disappointed that Unite has rejected our extensive salary package after many months of negotiations.
“This is bad news for our employees, families and other local employers.
“We fully recognize our colleagues’ concerns about the cost of living crisis and have responded with a pay package that represents an average annual salary increase of 10%.
“The Port of Liverpool is a major employer in the Liverpool City area.
“We have invested over £1.2bn over the past decade, transforming the region’s prosperity, creating over 900 new skilled jobs and in turn supporting over 7,200 additional local jobs in the supply chain.
“We call on the union to work with us at the negotiating table so that we can find a solution together.”
Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Workers across the country are fed up with being told they must hurt their wages and living standards while employer after employer is guilty of rampant profiteering.”
She said the port’s owners must make a “reasonable offer and fulfill their previous salary promises”.
The company said it has also committed to a shift pattern change that will result in a 25 percent reduction in night shift work.
The average salary for container workers would rise to around £43,000 a year, well above the Liverpool City area and the national average, she added.
The Port of Liverpool operates two container terminals, the Royal Seaforth Container Terminal (RSCT) and Liverpool2.
RSCT has connections to a number of countries including Canada, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus and Turkey, as well as feeder services linking Liverpool to India, Africa, South America and the Far East.
Liverpool 2 is one of the most operationally efficient and modern terminals in Northern Europe, accommodating some of the world’s largest container ships.
A total of 845 staff work at the Port of Liverpool’s container department, which handled around 525,000 containers in 2021.
The goods in the containers were distributed around the world and included imports and exports, such as retail and industrial products.
– Unite members at the Felixstowe docks will stage an eight-day strike from September 27 in a separate pay dispute, while train drivers at 12 rail companies will strike on October 1-5, making travel to and from the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham concerns.
– After months of labor disputes, longstanding disputes in the rail industry remain unresolved.