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.
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.
These are exacerbated by the effects of climate change across continental Europe. Strategic Risk says: However, the strike “occurs when falling Rhine water levels are causing further trade disruptions within Central Europe, especially Germany.”
Following the July 28 vote, Unite did everything to avoid the need to call a strike and called for talks at the government mediation body ACAS, the graveyard of all workers’ struggles. After its “peace negotiations” “failed to come up with a reasonable offer”, it was forced to announce a strike on August 5. Unite continued negotiations in desperation, and on August 8 He met with ACAS, but no agreement was reached. The company was disappointed that the union had allowed workplace strikes “since 1989.”
The failure of Unite this time shows that militant sentiments dominate the British working class. The trade union bureaucracy’s main concern, shared with the company and the Tory government, is that the strike will spread rapidly and mobilize one of his most powerful workers nationally and internationally. about it. This is especially true given the recent spate of wildcat strikes at power plants, refineries and Amazon fulfillment centers.
More than 500 dockers at Liverpool Docks voted 99% to strike on Monday, with 88% of the votes cast, against the Mersey Dock and Harbor Company’s (MDHC) offer of a 7% payout. Their concerns came true. The company, despite being owned by giant Peel Group and his MDHC, where he reports a profit of over £30m in 2021, has refused to make near-inflationary wage deals.
Unite reports that employees will also go on strike against “companies that have not implemented the promised salary review.” [in 2021], last occurred in 1995 and failed to reach agreement to improve the shift rotor. “
Unite voting for the same dock’s 60 engineering staff closes on August 24th.
About 60% of UK container traffic would be affected if Felixstowe and Liverpool dockers took industrial action at the same time.
Unite stepped in again, appealing to employers to avoid the strike. Bobby Morton, Unite National Officer for Docks, immediately called for new negotiations and warned: Provide rewards that meet member expectations. “
As a testament to its goodwill, the union has sat down in the controversy in Liverpool despite overwhelming orders by workers, without naming a date for the strike. ‘s container docks outages is firmly on the MDHC,” he said. He pleaded that the company “needs to get a deal.”
A dock strike centered around key chokepoints in the UK and European economies will be dealt with with all the strength of the nation. The Conservative government is preparing a series of anti-strike laws, including the implementation of minimum service laws in ‘critical industries’. It has an Operation Yellow Hammer plan ready for a hard Brexit, including deploying police and troops to deter mass strikes and control “civil unrest.” The document made particular reference to the sensitivity of British infrastructure such as refineries.
Barring token criticism, Labor fully supports the Tory party’s class struggle agenda.
Dock and other major infrastructure workers cannot successfully counterattack while being held down by Unite or other unions. We must look to build a general committee headed by This commission will be able to connect and prepare the fight in the ports with millions of other workers who are fighting against their employers and governments. general strike.
Their most powerful allies are brothers and sisters from all over the world who face the same attack. Ports are important hubs of globalized production, connecting workers around the world.
The sharpest business observer is acutely aware of this possibility.Article roadster, which published an article Wednesday read by “thousands of cargo professionals and shippers”, said Felixstowe’s agent contact said “the mood is optimistic by the day that the port will return to normal after the strike.” It is no longer,” he reported. Our owners are concerned that the threat of further industrial action will continue following the strike…”
The article states: roadster 2M partners Maersk and MSC explore options to over-ship UK imports to Wilhelmshaven and Antwerp, while Ocean Alliance understands UK cargo may be offloaded at Piraeus doing.
“Nevertheless, their options are limited and negotiations on strikes in German ports to support wage negotiations between the trade union ver.di and the Central Association of German Port Companies are nearing a settlement. Is not …
“And the court-imposed moratorium against further industrial action in German ports expires on August 26th, and the next round of negotiations will be suspended on the 22nd and will be deemed ‘significant’. In addition, Hapag-Lloyd reports that wage disputes have “severely affected the willingness of dockers to do additional shifts and volunteer work, especially on weekends.”
A joint struggle by British and German dockers will deal a heavy blow to the international working class against governments and big corporations carrying out unprecedented attacks on workers’ living standards.