About 1,900 workers of UK's largest container port are on strike demanding pay revision. The workers under the banner Unite said crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores are taking part in the first strike to disrupt the port in 31 years, following a more than nine-one vote in favour.
Unite national officer Robert Morton said: "The supply chain will be severely disrupted, I accept that. That's one of the unfortunate parts of things like this. It could be over this afternoon if the employer agreed to meet us for real-time negotiations. The last message they gave to us is that 'yes, we will meet you, but no, we will not move our position one inch'. That's the wrong approach."
He added: "If we don't achieve what we're trying to achieve, there will be more strikes." The union is asking for a pay rise in line with inflation - which currently stands at 12.3%. Workers had previously been offered a 7% increase, as well as a £500 lump sum payment. This offer has not been put towards members, but Morton said that is because "at the beginning of the negotiations we asked them what they wanted and they said, 'we want you to go and negotiate and come back with at least the rate of inflation. If it's anything less than that, then don't bring it back'."
Morton said a "figure between 7% and 12.3% will be acceptable to my membership".