Around 600 workers at the Port of Liverpool have walked out in a dispute over pay. The week-long strike comes after members of Unite the Union at Mersey Docks and Harbour Company - MDHC - rejected a pay offer that they've said is 'inadequate.'
Unite members and bosses from MDHC's parent company Peel Ports, were unable to reach an agreement after the first walkout in September.
The company has offered the workers a pay rise of around 10.2 per cent, but with the real rate of inflation, RPI, at 12.3 per cent, they say this is a pay cut.
“We just want a living wage”
Kevin Aindow, Vessel Boss at Port of Liverpool, said, "We just want a living wage. We want to be able to live instead of surviving all the time. Just give us what we deserve, we work hard. We make them millions of pounds every year, and they're expecting us to accept 7%, it's not good enough. People with families are struggling to live. It's a time where every working-class person now has to stand up for themselves and be counted."
The company has said to have failed to honour the 2021 pay agreement. This includes the company not undertaking a promised pay review, which last happened in 1995, and failing to deliver on an agreement to improve shift rotas.
Unrealistic and unsustainable above-inflation pay demands
A spokesperson for Peel Ports, operator of the Port of Liverpool, said: "Unite continues to make unrealistic and unsustainable above-inflation pay demands whilst declining a meeting with ACAS.
"We are concerned Unite have no interest in resolving matters through the collective bargaining arrangements we have in place or via an independent ballot, as it continues to push for more strikes.
"Our average 10.2% basic pay increase offered in talks last week represents an industry leading deal and is 2% above inflation, at the time of the pay anniversary and review in June.
"Ongoing strikes are hurting Liverpool City Region's businesses and prospects for future growth and jobs, at a time of economic uncertainty and volatile market conditions.
"We call on Unite to reconsider the greatly enhanced offer via an independent ballot, so we can bring these damaging strikes to an end."
Redundancy notice to 132 workers
Unite has described issuing a formal HR1 redundancy notice to 132 workers citing a downturn of traffic at the Liverpool container port as "desperate", adding that the move has confirmed that this dispute is now about jobs and pay.
The union says that the threatened redundancies make no business sense and have been proposed and dropped previously.