UK port strikes compound with supply chain issues
Supply chain visibility platform FourSails said the strike of over 560 port operatives at Liverpool for two weeks will have a less significant impact than Felixstowe’s strike in August as companies seek to minimise disruption. “All parties need to be in constant communication with each other, shippers and BCO’s are leveraging other ports and building buffer into their demand plans to offset these continual disruptions for freight coming through the UK ports,” said Glenn Koepke, GM of Network Collaboration, FourKites.
Related: 15 days of UK port disruption begins at Liverpool While current dwell times are at acceptable levels and not bringing about production shutdowns, they do add to strains elsewhere along supply chains.
“One example is order lead time to customer. If there are production part availability issues, staffing issues, truck delays, and now port delays, we are seeing cases where an end-to-end transit time may go from 15 or 30 days to now 20-45. This makes planning and forecasting extremely difficult for all parties,” said Koepke.
Workers started a two-week strike at the Port of Liverpool this week due to an ongoing pay dispute. Unite the union said a recent pay offer amounted to an 8.3% pay offer at a time of 12.3% inflation, and therefore a real terms pay cut for its members.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham, who was due to join the picket line on September 21, said: “MDHC can well afford to pay its workers a decent pay rise and must do so. It also needs to honour the 2021 pay agreement it made with the workforce.
Our MDHC members are being asked to accept attacks on their living standards while the company gets richer and richer – Unite will not tolerate that.” Peel Ports Group, owner of the port, said its latest pay offer was a 10% average increase in annual pay, and that it recognises employee’s concerns about rising living costs. The Liverpool strike is set to overlap with eight days of industrial action at the UK’s main container port Felixstowe later in September.
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