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21 Aug 2022

Helen Burchell & Andre Rhoden-Paul, BBC

UK: Over 1000 Felixstowe dock workers strike for first time in 30 years after rejecting below-inflation pay offer

"Felixstowe: Dock workers strike for first time in 30 years", 21 August 2022

Dock workers at the UK's largest container port have gone on strike for the first time in 30 years.

About 1,900 members of the Unite union at Felixstowe in Suffolk are walking out for eight days in a dispute over pay.

Unite said members rejected a 7% pay offer from the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company, which it said was below the rate of inflation.

A port spokesman said the strike was "disappointing"...

Striking workers include crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores who load and unload ships.

Port spokesman Paul Davey said the average pay for workers at Felixstowe was £43,000, and employees had been offered a 7% rise plus a single payment of £500.

He said the offer represented an increase of between 8.1% and 9.6%, depending upon the category of worker at the port, at a time when the average pay increase in the country was 5%.

"We've got a shrinking economy, we're going into recession... I think that's a very fair offer indeed," he said.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme, he added the strikes were part of Unite's "national agenda".

"It serves their purpose well to have a strike here at Felixstowe... I know many of them [workers] feel they're being used as pawns in this game."...