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United kingdom.  1,900 workers on strike for eight days at the country's main container port - labor and social struggles

United kingdom. 1,900 workers on strike for eight days at the country’s main container port – labor and social struggles

Workers at the UK’s largest container port have gone on strike for the first time in 30 years.

1,900 Unite members of Felixstow began an eight-day strike today, after union authorities abandoned negotiations on a wage increase. Reuters reports.

Unite said members rejected a 7% hike offer made by the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company, because it was below inflation. A sit-in was formed in the early hours of Sunday, making way for a strike that will continue for the next eight days.

“Felixstowe docks are very profitable. The latest figures show it generated £61 million (about €72 million) in profits in 2020,” said Sharon Graham, secretary of the Felixstow union. Graham added: “Her parent company, CK Hutchison Holding Ltd, is so rich that in the same year it paid out £99m in dividends to its shareholders. So I think it is able to give Felixstowe workers a fair pay raise.”

Leading naval group Maersk warned that the strike would create severe disruption, with some ships facing significant delays.

Dr Kamran Mahrouf, associate professor of supply chain analysis at the University of Bradford, told the BBC: “Although a lot of the goods going through this particular outlet could be refrigerators and laptops, there will also be a lot of frozen food. It can pass through this channel. So there will be interruptions, but the importance is to ensure that it is limited to only eight days. Extending this period may mean having to divert goods and infrastructure may not be able to do that.”

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With inflation over 10% and energy costs completely out of control, the UK is the first country to show signs of reawakening class struggle that could soon affect many other European countries.