With over 1,900 workers at Felixstowe, Britain’s largest container port, going on an eight-day strike, massive disruptions are expected in the country’s supply chain.
Hutchison Ports, Felixstowe’s operator, had offered a seven per cent pay rise along with a lump sum amount of £500. The deal had been accepted by the workers’ union of the port too, which has about 500 engineering, supervisory and clerical staff as its members.
However, Unite — probably one of the largest trade unions in Britain, with over a million members across sectors, including transport, construction, manufacturing, and logistics — which has dock workers amongst its members, found the offer inadequate considering the rising inflation.
The settlement of Flexistowe handles about one-third of Britain’s entire container volume. The share of direct trade with Asia that it handles is even bigger. Therefore, this strike will have a significant impact on British supply chains with shipping companies being forced to alter their vessel line-ups. It is reported that about $800 million worth of trade may be affected. Huge backlogs will be created in terms of cargo, which will take a lot of time to be cleared.
Apparel imports from India will also be significantly affected among other things.
Britain is undergoing a cost-of-living crisis, caused by rapid rise in prices of essential goods, including groceries, which is going up faster thatn the increase in incomes of households. As a result, real income has fallen drastically.