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Liverpool dockworkers to vote on strike action in pay dispute

Hundreds of dockworkers in Liverpool are set to vote on whether to strike in a dispute over pay and conditions. The Unite union said more than 500 of its members employed at MDHC Container Services, part of British billionaire John Whittaker’s Peel Ports, would be asked to vote over industrial action that could bring one of the largest UK container ports to a “virtual standstill” at the end of August.

The dispute is a result of MDHC failing to make a decent pay increase, the union said, adding that the final offer of 7% is far below the current real inflation rate of 11.7%. The union also highlighted that there are issues around agency rates of pay, which have not been improved since 2018, shift rotas and the bonus payment which was agreed in the 2021 pay deal.

“Strike action will inevitably severely affect shipping and road transport as well as create shortages in supply chains but this dispute is entirely of Peel Ports’ own making. Unite has held extensive negotiations with the company but it has refused to address members’ concerns,” said Unite regional officer Steven Gerrard.

As the second largest port group in the UK, Peel Ports handles over 70m tonnes of cargo each year. The industrial action ballot will open on July 25 and close on August 15.

In related news, dockworkers at Germany’s North Sea ports went on strike last week in the latest of several walkouts that largely paralysed cargo handling at major ports including Hamburg, Bremerhaven and Wilhelmshaven.

Adis Ajdin

Adis is an experienced news reporter with a background in finance, media and education. He has written across the spectrum of offshore energy and ocean industries for many years and is a member of International Federation of Journalists. Previously he had written for Navingo media group titles including Offshore Energy, Subsea World News and Marine Energy.
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