Almost 2,000 workers at the UK’s biggest container port will go on strike for eight days on Sunday over a pay dispute, the latest industrial action to affect a growing number of sectors of the UK economy.
Workers, including crane drivers and machine operators, will walk off the job at the port of Felixstowe on England’s east coast, which handles around 4 million containers a year from 2,000 ships.
The strike comes as people across the UK faced travel disruption on Saturday for a third day this week as thousands of rail workers continued a summer of strikes to seek better pay and job security amid rising food and energy prices.
Only around one in five trains in the UK were expected to run on Saturday, with some areas out of service all day. Football and cricket fans attending sports matches, as well as tourists, were among those affected.
Most London Underground lines were down on Friday due to an independent strike.
The Unite union alleges that Felixstowe Port’s parent company, CK Hutchison Holding Ltd., prioritized profits over paying workers a living wage.
Port authorities, meanwhile, said they were “disappointed” that Unite did not “come to the table for constructive discussions to find a solution”. Felixstowe handles almost half of the container traffic entering the country. The strike could mean ships have to be diverted to ports elsewhere in the UK or Europe.
Rail workers launched a series of large-scale strikes that disrupted national train travel in June, demanding better wages and working conditions as authorities try to reform the rail system, which has lost large chunks of its revenue due to of the coronavirus pandemic and changes in travel patterns. .
More public and private sector unions are planning strikes as Britain faces its worst cost of living crisis in decades. Postal workers, lawyers, British Telecom staff and rubbish collectors have all announced walkouts for the end of this month.