Dockworker strike at Felixstowe dock threatens to bring UK economy to a halt

The most significant of the growing wave of strikes in the UK is due to take place on Sunday at Felixstowe harbor in Suffolk, UK.

At the end of July, some 2,000 Unite members voted to strike with a majority of 92%, with a turnout of 81%, rejecting wage proposals for less than 5% inflation. At the time of the poll results, his RPI measure of inflation was 11.8%. It is now 12.3%. Wages have been held back for years, and the dockworker will receive another deal in 2021 that will put him below 1.4% inflation.

Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company is owned by Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison Holding Ltd, one of the UK’s largest foreign investors. It is one of the world’s leading container terminal operators and a global leader in port services, with interests in 52 ports in 26 countries. The company reported his pre-tax profit of £61m in 2020 and has generously paid out millions of dollars in dividends to shareholders.

Aerial view of Felixstowe harbor docks [Photo by John D F / Flickr / CC BY-SA 4.0]

An eight-day strike would have an immediate and significant impact on the UK economy and global maritime trade.

Felixstowe handles about half (48%) of all UK container freight. When Unite approved the strike, the Ministry of Transport said, “This action by the union risks disrupting the delivery of critical supplies and cargo and strongly urges the union and port to stay at the table and agree to a settlement.” Ask”.

Felixstowe and other ports in the UK are important to the Conservative government’s agenda to bolster working-class exploitation through newly created free ports where big businesses can operate without substantially hindering profit accumulation. . Rishi Sunak, one of his candidates to replace Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister, will give Felixstowe and Harwich free port status in his position as prime minister in March. announced.

An analysis by the Strategic Risk Europe website notes that “beyond the UK, Felixstowe has made significant gains in shipping British exports to larger European ports such as Rotterdam ($108 million) and Hamburg ($138 million). supply and play an important role in global trade.” Overall, an analysis by the Russell Group warned of a trade disruption of over $800 million. Garments ($82.8 million) and electronic components ($32.3 million) are the commodities most affected by the strike, based on previous trade flows at ports in August.

Russell Group managing director Suki Bashi expects the effects to ripple through “the coming weeks and months” as the stress on global supply chains continues.

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