Union leaders on dock workers picket line will strike for 'as long as it takes'

Union leaders on the picket line with dock workers on Merseyside say they will strike for "as long as it takes".

Hundreds of Port of Liverpool workers have walked out in a dispute over pay. Peel Ports Group, which operates the dock, says workers have rejected a "significant" pay package.

Sharon Graham, General Secretary of Unite, said: "You've got a situation here that the employer is making huge profit - £141 million pounds worth of profit - and they're saying that these workers should take real terms pay cut.

"So, of course, they need to feed their families, they've got bills to pay and I'm here to say that Unite will fight for these workers to ensure that they get a proper offer."

The docks strike is expected to continue until 3 October. Further action is possible if an agreement cannot be reached.

A union march in Liverpool Credit: ITV News

Tommy Jennings, a Union Rep, said: "It's a dangerous job we do, we are trying not to be a nuisance to the general public [by going on strike].

"I'm proud to be a Liverpool docker but there's only so much I can take."

David Huck, the port's chief operating officer, said: "I am deeply disappointed Unite has rejected our significant pay package after many months of negotiation."

“We fully recognise our colleagues’ concerns on the cost of living crisis, and that’s why we have responded with a pay package which represents a 10% average increase in annual pay.

“The Port of Liverpool is a major employer in the Liverpool City Region. We have invested more than £1.2b over the last decade, transforming the prosperity of the region, creating over 900 new skilled jobs and in turn supporting over 7,200 additional local jobs in the supply chain.

“We urge the union to work with us at the negotiating table so together we can find a resolution.”

On the first day of strike action, MP for Liverpool Riverside Kim Johnson said that Keir Starmer "has no b***s" during a speech on the picket line.