8 day strike planned
Workers at Britain’s largest container port have launched what they say is an eight-day strike, making them the country’s latest to take action to demand higher wages amid rising inflation and rising costs of living.
Nearly 2,000 workers at the port of Felixstowe, which handles about 4 million containers a year from 2,000 ships, quit their jobs on Sunday.
The uproar has raised concerns over supply chain problems, with only one-fifth of trains running in the UK on Saturday amid a strike by rail workers, and the transport industry already facing a shutdown.
Other industries are also planning strikes
Postal workers are also planning a four-day strike at the end of this month, and telecoms giant BT recently faced the biggest turmoil in decades.
Amazon warehouse workers, criminal lawyers and garbage collectors are among those who have also gone on strike in recent weeks. “The strike action would cause enormous disruption and send huge shockwaves across the UK supply chain, but this dispute is entirely the business of the company,” said the unit’s dock, which represents strike workers from the union in Felixstowe.
Bobby Morton, a national official, told Reuters. “It [the company] had every opportunity [to make] a fair offer to our members, but turned it down.” He called the pay increase offer “fair.”
Wage demands on the back of 40 year high inflation
Inflation in the UK hit a 40-year high last month, surpassing 10%, amid rising food and energy prices, partly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began on 24 February. “The port offers safe, well-paying jobs and there will be no winners in this unnecessary industrial action,” The Bank of England expects inflation to hit13% this year and the economy to enter recession.
Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Felixstowe, said, “The strike could exacerbate an already precarious situation. Shipping group Maersk, one of the world’s largest container shippers, warned that the action would have major repercussions, causing operational delays and forcing changes to its fleet line-up. “This is very important.” It’s a great port, not just specifically for textiles, but for all kinds of products that are brought here,” Fawcett said. “So there are businesses and consumers in the UK who are already struggling. Of course, actions like this will make those supply chains even more vulnerable and could be a factor in future inflation.”
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