Christmas strike action has been voted for overwhelmingly, by workers at Felixstowe, the UK’s busiest container port, in a dispute over outsourcing.
Trade union Unite claims the Port of Felixstowe’s plans to transfer 110 engineers to contractor Universal Tyre to cut costs, is “the thin end of the wedge”, and that moving staff to external companies will become a trend for the entire workforce.
HOLIDAY OPENING – The port is due to cease operations at 19:00 on Tuesday 24th December 2019 and recommence at 07:00 on Friday 27th December 2019. (The port may elect to work vessels on Boxing Day.)
There is no expectation that this strike action will impede port operations, but that is likely to change if increasing numbers decide to support strike action.
Unite claims to have 1,900 members among an approximate 3,000 workers at the port and will be balloting their entire membership at the port over the outsourcing issue.
Neal Evans, UNITE regional officer commented. “What we have here, if this outscoring proposal involving Universal Tyres goes ahead, is the thin end of the wedge which, we believe, will see a salami–slicing of pay and conditions in the future. This is completely unacceptable.
“At present, the threat is just to the tyre fitting operation but we fear that this could affect more of our engineering members going forward. As a result, there will be two days of strike action on 27 and 28 December.”
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep you informed.