Unite national officer Robert Morton also warned there “will be more strikes” if his members’ pay demands are not met, as some 1,900 members of Unite at Felixstowe, Suffolk, are expected to walk out in a dispute over pay, reports dpa news agency.
On Monday, the second day of industrial action at the port, Morton said Unite wants an improved pay offer in line with at “least the rate of inflation,” suggesting a figure between “7 per cent and 12.3 per cent” would be acceptable.
Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs at the Port of Felixstowe, stressed there is a “7 per cent plus 500 pounds” offer on the table, and has urged Unite to let its members vote on it.
Morton told Sky News: “The supply chain will be severely disrupted, I accept that. That’s one of the unfortunate parts of things like this.”
“It could be over this afternoon if the employer agreed to meet us for real-time negotiations. The last message they gave to us is that ‘yes, we will meet you, but no, we will not move our position one inch’. That’s the wrong approach.”
Workers including crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores are taking action after voting by more than 9-1 in favour of strikes.
The union said the strike will have a significant impact on the port, which handles around four million containers a year from 2,000 ships.
But a port source previously suggested the strikes will be an “inconvenience not a catastrophe”, claiming the supply chain is now used to disruption following the Covid pandemic.