August 21 – Felixstowe Port is to come to a standstill causing container crisis!

Shepherd’s Bush bus drivers taking strike action on Friday in rejection of an ‘insulting’ pay offer way below inflation

THE most significant of a growing wave of strikes in Britain will go ahead with an eight-day walkout.

This is after after pay talks broke down with employers at Felixstowe port in Suffolk, England.
Nearly 2,000 Unite union members voted to go on strike starting on August 21 and ending on August 29 at the Port of Felixstowe, the UK’s largest container port, after talks between employers and the union broke down a week ago.
In late July, 92 per cent of union members voted for strike action after Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company rejected an offer of a 5% pay increase from the employer. Company figures suggest the average annual pay of the workers involved is £43,000.
The union has repeatedly called for the port to make ‘a reasonable offer’, citing the current 11.9 per cent retail inflation in the UK. Further, they also said that members, while keeping the port functioning during the pandemic, only received a 1.4% wage increase in 2021.
‘Felixstowe needs to stop prevaricating and make a pay offer which meets our members’ expectations,’ Bobby Morton, the Unite national officer for docks, warned, calling for immediate negotiations.
The employees say that workers’ pay is not keeping up, while Felixstowe and its parent company CK Hutchison Holding, – with interests in 52 ports in 26 countries – ‘are both massively profitable’ while also paying large dividends to shareholders.
Unite reported that workers would also strike over ‘the company not undertaking a promised pay review (in 2021), which last happened in 1995, and failing to deliver on an agreement to improve shift rotas’.
While the strike is scheduled to last only eight days, union officials have predicted that ‘it will generate massive shockwaves throughout the UK’s supply chain,’ further knocking the British economy as it braces for recession.
A spokesperson for Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company said that the port had not had a strike since 1989.
The British economy shrank in the second quarter of the year, official data have revealed, as the country edges closer to recession.
Felixstowe is the eighth-largest container-port in Europe. Around half of containers brought into the UK are transported via the port.
It is the primary deep-water port for the UK, including on the routes from Asia operated by most of the major container lines.
Analysis by the Russell Group warned of the disruption of over $800 million in trade overall.
Based on previous trade flows at the port during August, clothing ($82.8 million) and electronic components ($32.3 million), are the commodities that would be most impacted by the strike.
Many experts believe that because of the disruption at Felixstowe, trade will be diverted to other terminals in the country, and also other international ports, including Rotterdam ($108 million) and Hamburg ($138 million).
This is while water levels have fallen in the Rhine River, due to climate change, which will cause further trade disruptions within Central Europe, Germany in particular.
The main fear of the union bureaucracy, shared with the company and the Tory government, is that the strike might quickly spread, mobilising one of the most powerful sections of workers in the country and internationally.
Transport workers and train drivers on Great Britain’s railways have also gone on several strikes during the last year. The pay dispute is the latest in a series of problems to hit UK transport infrastructure.

  • Britain is suffering the worst inflation rate among the G7 countries with skyrocketing prices further tightening the squeeze on the British public.

According to figures provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the inflation reached yet another new record on Wednesday, registering a 40-year high record of 10.1 per cent. Britons are feeling the pinch of the deepening cost-of-living crisis.
The UK inflation rate comes well ahead of that of the United States and Germany, currently standing at 8.5 per cent. Italy with 8.4 per cent, Canada with 7.6 per cent, France with 6.8 per cent, and Japan with a 2.4-per cent, make up the remaining countries of the G7.
Martin Beck, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said the UK is facing a combination of crises in the US and Europe, and therefore experiencing higher inflation than either of the two.
Speaking to The Telegraph, he said, ‘We have got the US’s excess demand for workers and the Europeans’ massive energy bill issues, so we have got the worst of both worlds when it comes to inflation.’
The new inflation rate is even higher than the 9.8-per cent figure predicted by most economists, and signals a further deepening economic crisis for millions of Brits.
The alarming point is that the double-digit inflation comes just months before the rise of energy costs in October, with the Bank of England (BoE) warning that UK inflation is likely to peak at 13 per cent after the increase of energy bills.
The new consumer price index comes on the heels of an increase in the interest rate for the sixth time in a bid to bring the situation under control.
Britain is bracing for a new Prime Minister after Boris Johnson’s resignation, following a string of scandals. Johnson’s spokesperson has said there will be no further economic intervention by the government before the Tory leadership race ends on September 5.
The cut-throat race to Downing Street is in full swing, with two competitors fighting it out for the coveted chair, as the slump and strikes explode across the country.
The two remaining contenders in the prime ministerial race are former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who pledged on Wednesday night to combat inflation if she becomes Prime Minister by tackling ‘economic orthodoxy’, and the trades unions.
A spokesman for the Truss leadership campaign said she is against the tax rises. ‘You cannot tax your way to growth, and business as usual will not do.’
‘We need a new approach to the economy, we need to challenge the failing economic orthodoxy and we need to deliver the necessary reform to tackle inflation and achieve sustainable growth,’ the spokesman said.
However, earlier at a hustings, Sunak stood against his rival and said her plans would fuel inflation. ‘What I will not do is pursue policies that risk making inflation far worse and lasting far longer.’
Regardless of who wins the race, the new Prime Minster will face a raft of economic issues including the skyrocketing inflation, a looming recession, surging food prices, soaring energy bills, steepest real pay cuts, and a stagnant economy which is bringing the British pound currency to a historic low.

  • Transport Minister Grant Shapps has had some strong words for the strikers, saying the unions are ‘hell-bent on causing as much misery as possible to the very same taxpayers who stumped up £600 per household to ensure not a single rail worker lost their job during the pandemic’.

He also wrote in the Daily Mail on Thursday, setting out a plan to tackle ‘Luddite trade unions’.
It included changes to the rules on taking industrial action, such as setting minimum service levels during strikes, and requiring more ballots of union members.
This prompted ire from Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner.
‘Instead of doing their jobs, Tory ministers are dreaming up reckless anti-union laws that would inflame disputes, risk passenger safety, and weaken employment rights,’ she said.
‘Shapps could resolve this strike with a one-point plan: him getting around the table and doing his job.’
The government did pass legislation earlier in the summer to allow businesses to use agency workers to fill in for striking staff.
On Friday, an RMT strike affected the London Underground and London Overground in separate disputes over pensions and pay.
Some bus services were also affected on Friday as drivers took part in a strike called by the Unite union.
Today, the RMT and TSSA strike again. Disruption is likely to continue into Sunday morning.
Unite’s London bus strike also continues for a second day.
Looking beyond this week, RMT leader Mick Lynch said his union will continue with strikes ‘until we reach a settlement’ with Network Rail and other operators.