Workers at the Port of Liverpool call off strikes after accepting a basic 9% pay offer although Unite the union claims the deal is worth up to 18% for some staff. Tony McDonough reports
A bitter dispute that saw almost 600 workers at the Port of Liverpool stage multiple walkouts is finally settled.
Both port owner Peel Ports and Unite the union put out a statement declaring the dispute over. However both offered different slants on the pay settlement. Workers first walked out for two weeks on September 19.
This was followed by a one-week strike which ended on October 17 and then a third walkout, this time for two weeks, starting in late October.
However, last week LBN exclusively reported that an agreement between the two sides had been reached. It was confirmed earlier this week that a deal was to be put to workers for a ballot. They have now voted to accept the deal.
Peel Ports said in a statement that workers had accepted an increase in basic pay of 9%.. The company also pledged to implement a new pay structure for port operators and a commitment to upskilling. This, along with an increase to night shift allowance enhances the pay deal by a further 0.2% to 4.5%.
In its own statement, Unite the union claims port employees have won pay hikes of between 14% and 18%-plus, according to job grades.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is a highly significant victory for the Unite members on Liverpool docks.
“The determined resolve of our members on the picket line and Unite’s strikes-plus strategy has forced the company to see sense and do the right thing. Make no mistake – Unite will continue to fight for jobs, pay and conditions and defend workers relentlessly.
Peel Ports’ chief operating officer David Huck said: “We are delighted to have closed the pay deal with Unite the Union and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with focus on the future.
“We thank our key customers across the supply chain for their support and patience during a challenging period for them, as well as our employees and the wider business.
“We have invested £1.2bn over the last decade, helping Liverpool to proudly reclaim its position as one of the UK’s most important port operations and the busiest transatlantic port in Britain.”