What you need to know about the Felixstowe port strike
Widespread disruption to the supply chain is expected as workers at Felixstowe Port have voted to strike over pay. The eight-day strike will involve over 1900 workers walking out between the 21st and 29th of August.
It follows months of industrial action at German ports and will likely worsen the congestion that is already causing significant problems in Europe and beyond.
What has caused the strike at Felixstowe?
The action is due to a dispute over pay for employees of the Felixstowe Port and Railway Company, the owners of Felixstowe port.
Talks between Unite, the union for over 85% of the workers, and the port ended without a resolution. A 7% pay increase and a £500 bonus has been offered by the port, but was rejected by the union. Unite stated this offer doesn’t account for the cost of living crisis and continuing inflation. It was also noted that the workers received an increase of 1.4% last year, which is well below inflation levels.
Unite has advised that the strike may be called off if the port are willing to offer a more reasonable pay increase. The Port of Felixstowe has called the strike action “disappointing”, as the first strike since 1989, and insists that industrial action benefits no one.
The industrial action in Felixstowe comes after several months of similar disruption in Europe.
German dockworkers engaged in several strikes earlier in the summer. These were as a result of an ongoing dispute between the trade union Ver.di and the
Central Association of German Seaports (ZDS) over wage protection. As with Felixstowe, this has been prompted by inflation and the high cost of living.
The strikes affected the ports of Hamburg, Emden, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Brake, and Wilhelmshaven.
Consequences of the Felixstowe port strike
The consequences of the Felixstowe strike are likely to be significant. 48% of the container imports are process through the port and it is also the largest rail freight terminal in the UK. Four rail unions are also striking across the UK this week, leading to congestion before the Felixstowe port strike begins. There will also be congestion at other ports as companies circumnavigate the Felixstowe port strike. Others will be contending with Europe’s congestion, taking whatever options they can to get their goods from the mainland.
As the congestion builds across the UK and Europe, and is further compounded by the Christmas traffic that normally begins at this time of year, the disruption will likely continue until 2023.
What does the Felixstowe port strike mean for your business?
The combined effects of the Felixstowe port strike and industrial action in Europe will impact supply chains on a global scale. This disruption will continue even after staff return to work, as it will take time for the high levels of congestion to resolve. You should prepare for long-term supply chain delays as a result.
If you need help with clearances due to diversions for the Felixstowe port strike, contact us for assistance.