Industrial Action UK - Impact on Ports and Airports

March 13, 2023

Strikes at UK Airports and Ports - Cargo operations may be impacted

PCS Border Force in the United Kingdom have announced strike action on March 15th, 2023. The strike action will impact goods entering the UK as well as travellers. 

As per the UK Governments website, "The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union has announced Civil Service industrial action that will impact Border Force operations."

"The proposed strike action will impact international arrivals at all UK air and maritime ports, as well as those travelling to the UK from UK border controls in Calais, Dunkirk and Coquelles in Northern France."

If you have any concerns relating to your shipments to or from the United Kingdom please don't hesitate to get in touch with the Crane Worldwide Logistics team here

UPDATE February 15th, 2023

Industrial Action by PCS Border Force UK

Between the 17th and 20th February, the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will be taking industrial action that may impact passengers and freight arriving and departing from the following locations in the United Kingdom:

  • Port of Calais
  • Port of Dunkirk
  • Coquelles Channel Tunnel Terminal
  • Port of Dover

Latest information is available here

If you have any concerns over the impact to your freight shipments, please don't hesiate to reach out to one of our advisors here

UPDATE 30th January, 2023

HMRC has advised of forthcoming industrial action taking place on February 1st.

Impact of industrial action:

  • Up to 100,000 civil service members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union will be going on strike on Wednesday 1 February 2021. HMRC members will not be taking part but the industrial action will include UK-based Home Office members, including Border Force staff. 
  • The industrial action is likely to impact the movement of goods through UK ports and airports on 1 February, as well as those travelling to the UK from UK Border controls in Calais, Dunkirk and Coquelles in Northern France. There may also be some disruption on the morning of 2 February as business returns to normal. 

Unite accept pay deal at Port of Felixstowe

On December 12th, members from the Unite Union accepted a pay deal that will commence in January 2023.

The agreement reached was a 8.5% pay rise plus £1,000 starting from January 2023.

A Unite spokesperson said: "While this pay increase is significant and was achieved as a result of strike action, the wider dispute will not be over until our members who have been victimised, are back at work."

In Liverpool, a resolution was reached that secured a pay deal worth between 14.3% and 18.5%. 

October 23rd, 2022

Liverpool port strike starts today for two weeks

Industrial action has recommenced at the Port of Liverpool in the United Kingdom today after wage negotiations have not come to a close between the Union Unite and Peel Ports. 

According to reports, almost 600 workers will go on strike today as planned. 

Sharon Graham, the Union's General Secretary said in an online statement: “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".

Liverpool Port handles 60 vessels and on an average of 75,000 TEU per month according to Peel Ports website

Should you need to speak to a logistics expert in the United Kingdom, please don't hesitate to reach out here

Liverpool port workers plan third strike over wage negotiations

Liverpool port workers are in the midst of their second industrial action that commenced on the 11th October with plans to take strike action for eight days. The second strike action is due to end on Monday 17th October at 05.59 hours. 

Further strike action has now been called for and the union Unite have informed Peel Ports that they will embark upon further industrial action at Liverpool port commencing on 24th October until 06:00 hours on Monday 7th November. 

Should you need to speak to a logistics expert in the United Kingdom, please don't hesitate to reach out here

UPDATE 28th September, 2022

Second Port Strike in Felixstowe ends, strike action in Liverpool to start 11th October

Felixstowe port workers have returned to work following an eight day strike protest against pay levels. Although some ships have been diverted to alternative ports in the United Kingdom such as London Gateway, there is a backlog to clear at Felixstowe.

The BBC reported that on 30th September, the total TEU capacity waiting off port limits for container ships has been the highest observed in recent months, reaching more that 65,500 TEUs compared to 20,000 to 30,000 in June/July.

Liverpool dock workers also intend to strike from 11th October to the 17th October 2022.

UPDATE: October 6th, 2022

UK's Felixstowe workers taking strike action and additional dates announced for Liverpool Port.

Felixstowe members of Unite union are taking industrial action for eight days commencing 27th September. Felixstowe handles approximately 50% of ocean freight arrivals and departures in the United Kingdom. 

Liverpool Port have also recently issued a statement announcing further strike action "The union has now confirmed an extended period of strike action will take place between 06:00 hours from Tuesday 11 October to 06:00 hours Monday 17 October".

Supply Chains will be impacted, however, the media has speculated that the impact on Christmas produce and goods will not be cause for concern due to high inventory levels of stock and reduced consumer spending. 

UPDATE September 26th

Felixstowe Port Strike News: Second round to commence

Felixstowe port strike will commence on the 27th September for eight days. Crane Worldwide Logistics will keep you up to date over the coming period as strikes will impact the UK Supply Chain.

Should you need to speak to a logistics expert in the United Kingdom, please don't hesitate to reach out here

Reminder: Liverpool Strike Action starts today for two weeks

Peel Ports Group, which operates the port, said workers had rejected a "significant pay package" which included an 8.3% rise and a one-off payment of £750.

Felixstowe: Strike action in September

Breaking news - Workers in Felixstowe Port intend to strike for eight days from September 27th. The Felixstowe dock strikes will also coincide with the intended strike action at Liverpool Port.

The Liverpool port strike is reported to commence on 19th September until October 3rd. Communication from Peel Ports was as follows:

"Please note services will be suspended between 07:00 and 19:00hrs on Monday 19 September as a mark of respect to HM Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
Furthermore, following a show of hands vote by Unite the Union members last night, we have received confirmation that our improved pay offer was rejected, and strike action is due to take place from 19:00hrs 19 September to 06:00hrs 3 October"

Yesterday evening, the Port of Felixstowe issued the following statement on their website: "The company has received notice from Unite the union of further strike action from 07:00 on 27 September to 06:59 on 5 October. We are very disappointed that Unite has announced this further strike action at this time. The collective bargaining process has been exhausted and there is no prospect of an agreement being reached with the union"

Should you need to speak to a logistics expert in the United Kingdom, please don't hesitate to reach out here

UPDATE 2nd September, 2022

Liverpool Port Workers to strike for two weeks

More than 560 dock workers at Liverpool Port, one of the United Kingdom's busiest ports have announced strike action from September 19th to October 3rd over a pay dispute. Considerable disruption is expected in the Liverpool and Merseyside area in the North West of the UK.

This follows an eight-day strike in Felixstowe port in August. The strike ended with no agreement and the union is now deliberating over further action. 

With inflation reaching double digits in the United Kingdom, the current pay increases that are being offered by the ports are not sufficient according to the union Unite. 

Andreas Braun, Ocean Freight Director, discusses the strikes and the impact on the ocean freight market in our latest episode of 'Coffee with Crane', you can listen here: 


UPDATE 30th August, 2022

Felixstowe Port strike ends with no agreement

The Felixstowe dockworkers strike has ended with no resolution being found over the past eight days of industrial action. Felixstowe port had offered a pay rise of 7% plus a one-off payment of 500 pounds to workers, however, the union has not passed this on to their members yet. The union is now deliberating over further action which could lead to another potential strike.

The average number of days that import vessels are waiting to berth at Britain’s busiest container gateway has almost doubled this last week to 10 days, while the export waiting time rose by 9% only. Some container vessels have been rerouted to alternative UK or European ports, therefore shipping delays will last at least several days if not significantly longer.

UPDATE 26th August, 2022

Supply Chain Disruption will impact the United Kingdom

The Felixstowe strikes are now entering the sixth day of industrial action by dockworkers at the Port of Felixstowe. Strike Action is expected to end on the 29th August, 2022. 

The Unite Union leading the strikes has suggested if no resolution is found to the ongoing pay discussions, industrial action could continue until Christmas. 

London Thames Gateway is currently being used as an alternative entry port into the UK, however, the disruption at Felixstowe will cause significant delays for incoming cargo. 

Should you need to speak to a logistics expert in the United Kingdom, please don't hesitate to reach out here

Major disruptions are expected as workers across the economy struggle with the rising cost of living

What's happening in the UK?

  • Sea Ports
    • More than 1,900 workers at Britain's biggest container port, Felixstowe, strike for the first time in 30 years. They planned eight days of strikes from Aug 21st until the 29th in a dispute over pay.
    • More than 500 dockworkers at the Port of Liverpool, one of the largest container ports in the country, have also voted in favor of strike action over pay and conditions.

$4.7 billion in trade to be delayed in an eight-day strike at Port of Felixstowe

About 2,550 people work at the Port of Felixstowe - the country's busiest port, handling about 48% of the UK's container trade. Striking workers include crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores who load and unload ships. The union Unite rejected the 8% raise offered by the port owner, C.K. Hutchison Holding Ltd. In a statement, Maersk said, “We expect the strike action to have a significant impact on the vessel line-up and are working along with vessel partners to mitigate risk and disruption as much as possible.”

Official Statement Port of Felixstowe: The company is disappointed that Unite has not taken up our offer to call off the strike and come to the table for constructive discussions to find a resolution. We recognise these are difficult times but, in a slowing economy, we believe that the company’s offer, worth over 8% on average in the current year and closer to 10% for lower paid workers, is fair. Unite has failed our employees by not consulting them on the offer and, as a result, they have been put in a position where they will lose pay by going on strike.

The port regrets the impact this action will have on UK supply chains. We are grateful for the support we have had from our customers and are working with them to mitigate disruption. The port provides secure and well-paid employment and there will be no winners from this unnecessary industrial action.

In September, Liverpool, England, dockworkers are expected to strike. The options for trade to move unencumbered are dwindling fast for logistics managers.

(Sources: BBC, Port of Felixstowe)

If you need support in the United Kingdom, please don't hesitate to reach out to the team here

Update Aug 16th, 2022

Two of the UK's ports could be hit by strikes in August.

The UK would become the latest to experience the labor unrest, with the two potential strikes following a recent settlement at Scotland's Lerwick port. Germany's North Sea ports have also recently been hit by work stoppages. At the same time, truckers in South Korea blocked ports in June, and in the US, slow progress is being reported in the contract negotiations for West Coast longshore workers.

The industrial action would mean the port would be "grinding to a halt," the Union said, though it didn't provide details on the start or duration of the strike.

The Bank of England forecasts inflation in the UK will reach 13% this year, and Unite said this would result in real-term pay cuts for workers.

Peel Ports urged the Union to keep talking to resolve the dispute.

(Sources: Reuters, Maritime Executive)

Update Aug 09th, 2022

Planned Strike Action at Felixstowe for eight days in August

From Sunday, Aug 21st to Monday, Aug 29th, 1,900 dock workers at the port of Felixstowe are planning on strike action after talks failed to materialize a solution to the ongoing pay dispute. 

Negotiations over the pay dispute ended on Aug 08th with no resolution.

The UK press has reported that the Union will agree to meet for further discussion if a proposal above the initial 7% pay increase is possible. Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison Holdings own Felixstowe port.

If the strike does proceed, there will be significant disruption to supply chains throughout the United Kingdom.

Update Jul 31st, 2022

Felixstowe's potential strike action in August

Felixstowe is the UK's largest container port handling approximately 40% of all containers that arrive and depart from the United Kingdom. Dock workers recently voted for strike action in August at Felixstowe, citing they were offered a "below-inflation pay rise." Rising living costs have become a significant concern in the United Kingdom. 

Port workers at Felixstowe, based in Suffolk on the East Coast of the United Kingdom, balloted 92% in favor of the strike. Members of the Unite union rejected the 5% pay increase offer. The members of Unite are responsible for all aspects of the port's operation in Felixstowe. 

The Union has agreed to additional rounds of talks before strike action takes place. Talks are set to resume on Thursday. It has been reported.

The Port of Felixstowe handles more than 4 million TEUs per year. Felixstowe strike action would impact many business entities across the United Kingdom. 

Industrial action has already been seen across the United Kingdom in various sectors as inflation continues to rise.

Crane Worldwide Logistics in the United Kingdom

UK Union Jack flagOur United Kingdom logistics operations are in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Manchesterand London Heathrow. The supply chain team in the UK works in partnership with our clients, offering tailor-made supply chain solutions, including International Air freight, Ocean freight, Project Logistics, and contract logistics with full bonded warehouse capabilities in addition to cargo screening capability and the movement of goods internationally.

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