Felixstowe Port strike: Turners of Soham boss says industrial action will cost haulage firm £1m

Paul Day, managing director of haulage company Turners of Soham.
Credit: ITV News Anglia
Paul Day said the company would be losing business of around £200,000 a day during the eight-day strike. Credit: ITV News Anglia

As the stand-off at the Port of Felixstowe continues, the boss of one of the country's biggest haulage firm fears the strike could cost his company more than £1m.

Around 1,900 members of the Unite union have walked out at the UK's busiest container port in a row over pay and are not due to return until next week.

Paul Day, managing director of Cambridgeshire-based Turners of Soham, said he managed to release 850 containers early from the Suffolk port before it shut on Sunday but his firm was now becoming "desperately short of work".

"We are doing everything we can to mitigate [the strike]," he said.

"But ultimately we think we might be able to get our loss down to around £200,000 a day.

"It's a huge amount of money not just for Turners but for multiple other companies, many smaller companies who are just not able to sustain that amount of loss."

Turners of Soham's latest accounts show a turnover of £465m in the year to 2 January 2021, with a net profit of £47.6m.

Mr Day added: "I think we will be able to sustain it and then carry on again as normal once the port gets back to running so we're in a fortunate position compared to a lot."

Around 4,000 lorries and 38 freight trains leave the port every day, taking the goods to every corner of the UK. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Crane drivers, machine operators and stevedores - who unload the ships - are among the members of the Unite union to take action.

The strike was called after Unite said the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company failed to improve on its offer of a 7% pay increase, describing it as “significantly below” inflation.

But speaking earlier this week Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs at the Port of Felixstowe, said that the port had improved its offer to staff over the course of negotiations.

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