Felixstowe strike: Business puts orders on hold as second port walkout continues

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A business which imports ceramic pots from Vietnam is postponing its next order over concerns about the impact of the latest strike at the Port of Felixstowe.

More than 1,900 workers at the terminal, which is the UK's busiest for container cargo, began an eight-day strike on Tuesday - their second walkout, following industrial action taken last month.

Potmania, which is based in Hellesdon near Norwich, is one of thousands of businesses reliant upon supplies being brought through the port, and brings in hundreds of pots and water features in each delivery.

Paul Millbank, co-owner of Potmania, said he had been about to put a new order in but with the strike starting again, had decided to hold off as he feared that the action, combined with the current economic situation, could cause shipping costs to surge.

Hellesdon-based business, Potmania, is pausing its imports over concerns about the latest strike at the Port of Felixstowe and the economy Credit: ITV Anglia

"This will inflate the prices on shipping costs and internal freight. We also are bearing the brunt of the [falling value of the] pound against the dollar," he said.

"It will cause massive delays. I believe there's something like 10,000 containers a day that go through Felixstowe so this is going to have serious implications on consumer goods."

The strike this week is the second time work has halted at the Suffolk port following an eight-day stoppage last month.

Miles Hubbard from the Unite union said the workers were standing firm in their demands.

"The original pay claim was for 10%. You can see the direction inflation is going in - it's not going to be getting any better any time soon, so we are sticking out for 10%," he said, highlighting the profits made at the port.

"They've made hundreds of millions of pounds of profit... There is no question they can afford it," he added.

The Port of Felixstowe said the action was avoidable.

It has implemented its offer of a 7% pay increase plus £500 for each worker, after the union refused to accept it.

"The company pays a very good wage. Average earnings here aeraround £43,000 a year," said Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs at the port.

"We are implementing a pay deal which is above what most people are getting in the economy and there will be another pay deal in three months."

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