Settlement reached in port pay dispute

Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports reaches agreement with Unite the union over bitter pay dispute that has seen hundreds of workers stage multiple walkouts. Tony McDonough reports

Port of Liverpool
Peel Ports has reached an agreement with Unite over the pay dispute at the Port of Liverpool


A bitter pay dispute between hundreds of workers at the Port of Liverpool and port owner Peel Ports may be over.

On Tuesday afternoon Peel Ports said it had reached an agreement with Unite the union over the dispute which has seen multiple walkouts. 

Almost 600 workers went back to work this week following a two-week walkout. Workers at the port first walked out for two weeks on September 19 and this was followed by a second one-week strike which ended on October 17.

Last week LBN exclusively reported that both sides were close to a settlement. But as the week ended sticking points remained. Now an offer will be put to the workers for a vote this week.

In a statement Peel Ports said: “Peel Ports Group, which operates the Port of Liverpool’s container terminals alongside TIL (Terminal Investments Limited), is pleased to announce that an agreed proposal has been reached with Unite the Union that will be fully recommended to its members.

“Unite will have a vote with the container operators later this week to formally accept the offer.

“On this basis, Peel Ports’ chief operating officer David Huck and Unite the unions’ national officer for transport, Bobby Morton, confirmed that the strike planned for November 14 will be postponed.”

Talks to resolve the dispute late in October ended in confusion and a war of words. Port owner Peel Ports claimed that workers had rejected what they claim is an 11% pay offer.

However, Unite insisted workers were set to accept a deal proposed by port management but that it was pulled at the last minute by Peel Ports’ board.

Chris Shirling-Rooke, chief executive of industry body Mersey Maritime, had warned big shipping lines could leave the Port of Liverpool for good if the dispute was not settled quickly.

He told LBN in October: “This untenable situation doesn’t just have an effect on the operations of the port itself, and the incredible work its employees do, but the many thousands of workers, their families, and hundreds of businesses in the supply chain in the North West.

“This is a supply chain that keeps us fed, fuelled and supplied. Don’t forget 95% of all of the UK’s supplies come by sea, not aeroplane or lorry. I’m not sure we really realise just how close we are to setting our region back decades from where it currently is.”

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