Port and Jacob’s strikes set to go ahead

Strike action at the Port of Liverpool begins on Monday evening after the Queen’s funeral with Jacob’s workers following later this month. Tony McDonough reports

Workers at the Port of Liverpool are set to begin a two-week walkout


Strike action at the Port of Liverpool will begin on Monday and workers at Jacob’s factory in Aintree will take action later this month.

More than 560 Mersey Docks and Harbour Company Workers at the Port of Liverpool will walk out for two weeks from Monday in a dispute over a new pay offer. Action was due to start on Monday morning. However, it has been put back to 7pm due the Queen’s funeral.

Jacob’s employs almost 700 people in Aintree producing Cream Crackers, Club biscuits, Twiglets, Jaffa Cakes cake bars, Mini Cheddars and Cracker Crisps. 554 workers voted in a ballot to take action over a 3.75% pay offer. 485 people voted in favour of taking action.

At the Port of Liverpool port operatives and maintenance engineers will take strike action that will last until 6am on Monday, October 3.

In August 88% of the workers took part in a strike ballot organised by union leaders at Unite. 99% voted in favour of strike action. Following the ballot Peel Ports urged the union and the workers to “keep talking”. But those talks have failed to reach a resolution.

Unite claims the company has offered a rise worth just 7%. However, Peel Ports claims its latest offer is worth 8.3%. Either way, with inflation now above 10% and likely to rise further, Unite says the offer falls short of what is needed to help people with the cost of living crisis.

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, said: “Workers across the country are sick to death of being told to take a hit on their wages and living standards while employer after employer is guilty of rampant profiteering. MDHC needs to think again, table a reasonable offer and fulfil its previous pay promises.”

Peel Ports says its offer of an 8.3% pay package has been enhanced with a one-off payment of £750 for each container operative at the Port.

David Huck, chief operating officer, said: “I am deeply disappointed Unite has rejected our significant pay package after many months of negotiation. This is bad news for our employees, families and other local employers.

“We fully recognise our colleagues’ concerns on the cost of living crisis, and that’s why we have responded with a pay package that represents a 10% average increase in annual pay. We urge the union to work with us at the negotiating table so that together, we can find a resolution.”


Jacob’s cracker and biscuit factory in Liverpool where workers are set to take action


Over at the Jacob’s factory, which can produce up to 6,000 cream crackers every minute, workers are unhappy with the pay offer. Inflation has cooled slightly since the Government announced a support package for energy bills but is still hovering around 10%.

Jacob’s is owned by United Biscuits. In 2014, United Biscuits was acquired by Turkish group Yildiz for a reported £2bn. It is run by a division of the business called Pladis, whose other brands include McVitie’s Biscuits.

Towards the end of September workers will begin action that initially stops short of an overall walkout. There are four individual shifts at the factory. Workers on each shift will walk out for one day each week.

In a short statement to LBN Pladis said: “In light of the circumstances we remain in close contact with our colleagues at the Aintree factory around the planned industrial action.”

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