Chaos at one of the UK’s biggest ports as hundreds of dock workers begin two-week strike after talks fell through over 11% pay rise
- Liverpool dockworkers have resumed a two-week strike over jobs and pay
- Peel Ports said Unite has rejected an improved 11 per cent pay offer
- However, Unite disputes this, saying the real offer stands at around 8.2 per cent
Liverpool dockworkers have resumed a two-week strike today after talks collapsed in an ongoing dispute over jobs and pay.
Nearly 600 dockworkers at the Port of Liverpool said they were staging the walkout, due to end on November 7, after talks with Peel Ports, the dock’s operator, ended in ‘chaos’.
Peel Ports said today that the decision is ‘hugely disappointing’.
The dock operator said Unite rejected an improved 11 per cent pay offer, however Unite disputes this, saying the true figure offered stands at around 8.2 per cent when pay scale and job role is taken into account.
The union is demanding a pay rise in line with inflation (RPI), which is currently 12.3 per cent.
It comes as Britain braces for a winter of discontent as union workers across the country threaten to walk out over ongoing pay disputes, with 15,000 ambulance workers set to vote on whether to strike over a below-inflation pay rise today.
Dockworkers at the Port of Liverpool on the first day of a two-week strike over jobs and pay
Liverpool dockers want a pay rise in line with inflation and accuse Peel Ports, the dock’s operator of making ‘untrue statements’ about what it has actually offered
Dockworkers at the Port of Liverpool have put up signs and hold flags as they begin a two-week walkout over jobs and pay
Meanwhile, Unite has accused Peel Ports of refusing to give dockworkers a ‘decent pay rise whilst profits soar’.
15,000 ambulance staff begin vote on strike action TODAY
Paramedics, nurses and midwives are among the latest to vote on whether they will strike this winter as widespread discontent continues to hit many sectors of the economy.
It comes as 15,000 ambulance workers across 11 trusts in England and Wales will vote today on whether to strike over a below-inflation pay rise.
GMB Union members argue that the Government’s imposed four per cent pay rise was ‘another massive real terms pay cut’.
On Thursday, a Unison strike ballot of 400,000 NHS workers in England, Scotland and Wales will open and a ballot of Royal College of Midwives members in Scotland will come to a close.
Next week, on November 2, the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) ballot of 300,000 members will close.
If the Midwives union votes to strike, industrial action could begin as early as November 11.
Rachel Harrison, GMB acting national secretary, said: ‘Ambulance workers don’t do this lightly and this would be the biggest ambulance strike for 30 years.
‘But more than 10 years of pay cuts, plus the cost-of-living crisis, means workers can’t make ends meet.
‘They are desperate. This is much more about patient safety at least as much about pay.’
The ballot of ambulance workers includes East of England, East Midlands, London, North East, North West, South Central, South East Coast, South West, Welsh, West Midlands and Yorkshire.
The union’s general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘The Unite team negotiated in good faith with Peel Ports. But the talks ended in farce, with the deal agreed between Unite and senior management being pulled by the board.
‘Strike action by our members and with the full support of Unite will go ahead.
‘Peel Ports’ untrustworthy behaviour and its attempts to threaten the workforce are only escalating the dispute.’
Meanwhile, Peel Ports chief operating officer David Huck said: ‘It’s hugely disappointing that Unite has staged yet another outdated show-of-hands mass meeting which has, very predictably, failed to support our improved 11 per cent pay offer.
‘This is the highest percentage increase of any port group in the UK by far and would see average annual pay rise to £43,275.
‘Given we have now improved our offer six times and Unite have consistently blocked the involvement of ACAS to help arbitrate, you have to question whether the union really wants to resolve this damaging industrial action or is simply prolonging it for their own ends.
‘The fact that they have refused to give all employees an independent postal vote on this 11 per cent offer, free from the pressures and undue influence of an outdated show-of-hands, is very telling.
‘Our feedback from many, many workers is that they are in favour of accepting but are too reluctant to do so in a mass meeting.
‘Meanwhile, the latest two-week strike will cause yet further damage to our customers, the business and the Liverpool City Region, threating even more jobs at the port.
‘It’s wholly irresponsible of Unite to prolong this self-defeating strike. They should have the courage to put this to members and let them have their say.
‘It’s the only way to safeguard as many jobs as possible and implement the most generous pay increase in the industry.’
The series of dockers’ strikes began on September 19, with a week-long strike staged on October 11-17.
Unite said that since then, workers have also been subject to ‘job threats’, when Peel Ports issued redundancy notices to 132 employees, despite plans to expand the port.
This saw the scope of the dispute widened to include jobs and pay.
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