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Liverpool dock strikes imminent

17 August 2022

Royal Seaforth container terminal and dock, part of the port of Liverpool operated by MDHC. Photo N Johannes (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Port workers at MDHC container services in Liverpool are preparing to start strikes for better pay. A ballot of the 500 Unite members returned a 99 per cent vote in favour of strike action on an 88 per cent turnout.

Maintenance engineers at the same company, also Unite members, have started their own ballot on strike action which closes on 24 August.


Both groups of workers are reacting to the same 7 per cent pay offer. The company did not honour the 2021 pay agreement, failing to carry out a promised pay review, the first for over 25 years.

The offer was described as “completely inadequate” by Unite official Steven Gerrard. He said that MDHC is awash with cash and needs to come back with a deal that meets the workers’ expectations in the face of rising inflation.

Inflation high

Official inflation hit a 40-year high of 10.1 per cent in July, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Food price inflation is now over 12 per cent; that made the greatest contribution to the CPI increase between June and July, while energy and other household costs are also increasing sharply.

The Bank of England predicts that inflation will run at more than 13 per cent by the end of this year and will stay high through 2023. It has raised interest rates in response; for many workers that will simply add more costs.

'MDHC is based in a tax haven.’

MDHC (Mersey Docks and Harbour Company) is part of Peel Ports, the country’s second largest port group with many other British interests, and is ultimately owned by a company based in the Isle of Man tax haven. The majority owner is a billionaire, also based on the Isle of Man, and the second largest investor is an Australian investment fund.