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Dock workers strike at Port of Liverpool

Dock workers formed a huge picket line at the Port of Liverpool as they strike over pay.

More than 560 port operatives and engineers at Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (MDHC) will continue to strike until October 3 over a 8.3% pay rise offer, which they say amounts to a pay cut as it is not in line with the current rate of inflation.


Workers have also objected to what they say is MDHC’s failure to undertake a pay review, which was promised in 2021, and claims over a lack of improvements to shift rotas.


Unite lead officer for freeports, Steve Gerrard, said: "The strike is an absolute last resort and we have been forced to take action because they won't bring to the table a reasonable offer.


"The profits that this company has been making, both its shareholders and directors, is increasing year on year, and yet they tell us that they cannot afford to give workers a decent pay increase. It's obscene and they have got to break the cycle of greed.


"We workers in no way want to disrupt the general public or the supply chain, but they have given us no choice."


He added: "We have got 13 days of strikes planned - it was originally going to be two weeks, but we gave up the first day of strike action out of respect for the Queen's funeral. Further strikes could be organised if the company doesn't bring a reasonable offer to the table. We're open to further discussions, but unfortunately it doesn't seem that the company is."


MDHC engineer Mike Jay said: "We just want a pay rise that reflects the current cost of living crisis and Retail Price Index, which is about 12.3%. We haven't actually been given a great deal of opportunity to negotiate. We've only had two meetings since June.


"I think MDHC is being very stubborn with a pay increase which they consider to be reasonable, but with the RPI and cost of living being what it is, it's not acceptable at this time. We have got guys here on different pay scales, and it affects the guys on the lower pay a lot more."


The Peel Ports Group, which operates the port, said workers had rejected an offer of an 8.3% pay rise, enhanced with a one-off payment of £750.


Unite said it was a real-terms pay cut because of the soaring rate of inflation and argued that the port’s owners could afford a higher increase.


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


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


“We fully recognise our colleagues’ concerns on the cost of living crisis, and that’s why we have responded with a pay package that represents a 10% average increase in annual pay.


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


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


“We urge the union to work with us at the negotiating table so that together, we can find a resolution.”


Source: PA Media

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