Third port walkout to go ahead as talks collapse

Port of Liverpool owner Peel Ports confirms third walkout by almost 600 workers will go ahead on Monday as talks with Unite ‘end in chaos’. Tony McDonough reports

The Port of Liverpool
Almost 600 workers at the Port of Liverpool will walk out for the third time on Monday


A third walkout by almost 600 workers at the Port of Liverpool will go ahead on Monday, October 24, as the latest efforts to resolve the dispute ended in confusion.

Port owner Peel Ports claimed on Friday evening that workers had rejected what they claim is an 11% pay offer. However, Unite the union claims workers were set to accept a deal proposed by port management but that it was pulled at the last minute by Peel Ports’ board.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Unite team negotiated in good faith with Peel Ports. But the talks ended in farce, with the deal agreed between Unite and senior management being pulled by the board.

“Strike action by our members and with the full support of Unite will go ahead. Peel Ports’ untrustworthy behaviour and its attempts to threaten the workforce are only escalating the dispute.”

However, Peel Ports chief operating officer David Huck, said: “It’s hugely disappointing that Unite has staged yet another outdated show-of-hands mass meeting which has, very predictably, failed to support our improved 11% pay offer.

“This is the highest percentage increase of any port group in the UK by far and would see average annual pay rise to £43,275.

“Given we have now improved our offer six times and Unite has consistently blocked the involvement of ACAS to help arbitrate, you have to question whether the union really wants to resolve this damaging industrial action or is simply prolonging it for their own ends.

“The fact that they have refused to give all employees an independent postal vote on this 11% offer, free from the pressures and undue influence of an outdated show-of-hands, is very telling.

“Our feedback from many, many workers is that they are in favour of accepting but are too reluctant to do so in a mass meeting.”

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. Monday’s walkout will last for a week.

Mr Huck added: “It’s wholly irresponsible of Unite to prolong this self-defeating strike. They should have the courage to put this to members and let them have their say. It’s the only way to safeguard as many jobs as possible and implement the most generous pay increase in the industry.”

Unite national officer Robert Morton added: “Our members’ resolve is only increasing with every new low the company sinks to. They know Peel Ports can afford to pay a proper increase and that is what has to happen.”

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