hundreds of dockers will begin a two-week strike from Monday in a dispute over pay, continuing industrial unrest that has hit several sectors over the summer.

Members of Unite in the port of Liverpool will be released from Monday evening, a few hours after the Queen’s funeral.

Peel Ports Group, which runs the port, said workers had rejected an offer of an 8.3% pay rise along with a £750 lump sum payment.

Unite said this was a pay cut in real terms due to the rapid rise in inflation and argued that port owners could afford a bigger rise.

David Huck, the port’s chief operating officer, said: “I am extremely disappointed that Unite has rejected our significant pay package after many months of negotiations.

“This is bad news for our employees, families and other local employers.

“We fully understand the concerns of our colleagues about the cost of living crisis and that is why we have responded with a pay package which represents an average annual pay increase of 10%.

“The Port of Liverpool is a major employer in the Liverpool City Region.

“We have invested more than £1.2 billion over the past decade, transforming the region’s prosperity, creating more than 900 new skilled jobs and in turn supporting more than 7,200 additional local jobs in the supply chain.

“We are calling on the union to work with us at the bargaining table so that together we can find a solution.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Workers across the country are sick to death of being told to take on wages and living standards while employer after employer is guilty of rampant speculation.’

She said the port owners needed to make a “reasonable offer and fulfill their previous promises to pay”.

The company said it has also committed to changing its shift structure, which will result in a 25% reduction in night shift work.

The average salary for container operators will increase to around £43,000 a year, well above the average salary in Liverpool and the national average, it added.

The Port of Liverpool operates two container terminals: Royal Seaforth Container Terminal (RSCT) and Liverpool2.

RSCT has ties to a number of countries including Canada, Spain, Italy, PortugalCyprus and Turkey, as well as feeder services connecting Liverpool to India, Africa, South America and the Far East.

Liverpool 2 is one of the most efficient and modern terminals in Northern Europe, capable of handling some of the world’s largest container ships.

In total, the Port of Liverpool’s container division employs 845 people, handling around 525,000 containers in 2021.

Containerized goods were distributed worldwide and included imports and exports, such as retail and industrial goods.

– Unite members at Felixstowe docks are to stage an eight-day strike from September 27 in a separate pay dispute, while drivers from 12 rail companies will strike on October 1 and 5, affecting journeys to and from the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

– Long-standing disputes in the railway industry remain unresolved after months of protests.


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