Port workers ballot
BOSSES at Ipswich port were today waiting to see if its operation would be affected by a threatened dockers' strike.Dockers employed by Associated British Ports across Britain are to be balloted on possible industrial action in a dispute over pay.
BOSSES at Ipswich port were today waiting to see if its operation would be affected by a threatened dockers' strike.
Dockers employed by Associated British Ports across Britain are to be balloted on possible industrial action in a dispute over pay.
The Transport and General Workers' Union said it will ask its members at Associated British Ports to vote over the next few weeks on whether to launch a campaign of action.
The strike would hit 21 ports including Ipswich, Lowestoft, Kings Lynn, Southampton, Hull, Grimsby and Immingham.
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Many of the port workers at Ipswich are not employed directly by ABP, but by other shipping companies. The number directly employed by the port has fallen since it was privatised in 1996.
The ballot follows the rejection of a 2.9% pay offer by a margin of three to one.
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Graham Stevenson, the union's national officer for transport, said: "This sends a very clear message to ABP that our members are serious about fighting back this year to win realistic and meaningful improvements to wages and conditions.
"We are looking to raise not just the standard of living of our members but to bring employment conditions into the 21st century. If it takes a national strike ballot to make progress, then so be it."
The union is seeking a minimum hourly rate of £7.50, a one hour reduction in the working week to 38 hours and improvements to holidays and parental leave.
A spokeswoman for the company said: "We have not received any communication from the TGWU regarding balloting their ABP members on industrial action in connection with our national recognition agreement.
"Under this agreement less than 300 employees out of a total of 3,000 are subject to collective bargaining.
"ABP always seeks to maintain a constructive and open dialogue with all its employees and union representatives.'