Freight hubs in NI could be hit by disruption as Liverpool dock workers strike

Freight hubs in NI could be hit by disruption as Liverpool dock workers strike
Freight hubs in Northern Ireland could face disruption due to planned strikes in the Port of Liverpool later this month.

Workers at the port are to stage a two-week strike in a row over pay, potentially hitting supply chains to and from Northern Ireland.

Some UK unions have floated the idea of coordinated strike action in the coming months, which could cause further disruption to supply chains.

On Friday, Unite the Union confirmed that more than 560 port operatives and maintenance engineers would take strike action from September 19 to October 3 after rejecting a pay offer.

A spokesman for Unite said a 7% pay offer amounted to a pay cut and bosses at Mersey Docks and Harbour Company (MDHC), part of Peel Ports Group, had failed to honour a 2021 pay agreement.

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

“MDHC needs to think again, table a reasonable offer and fulfil its previous pay promises.”

The union said strike action at the container port would disrupt both shipping and road transport in Liverpool and the surrounding areas, but more action would be taken if an acceptable pay offer was not put forward.

A spokesman for Peel Ports Group said a pay package of 8.3% was rejected by the union.

Chief operating officer David Huck said: “Whilst we fully appreciate our colleagues’ concerns on the rising cost of living, we have proposed an industry leading pay package of 8.3%.

“This is all in addition to a 4.5% increase in 2021, with improvements to shifts, sick pay and pensions, and following continuous and above-average pay awards over the last 10 years.

“Our pay offer is well above the national average and represents a sustainable position for the business, taking into account stagnation in the container market, worldwide economic pressures, the conflict in Ukraine and global shipping disruption.

“We will continue to urge Unite the Union to keep talking with us so together we can find a resolution to avoid action that will be bad news for the sector, businesses and families, with the effects being felt for many months to come, at a time when container volume demand has started to reduce.”

Last month, almost 2,000 dockers at the Port of Felixstowe took part in eight days of strike action in a dispute over pay.