Port workers set to strike amid dispute over pay and pensions

Unite the union members at Lerwick Port Authority are set to begin all-out strike action on Monday.

Unite the union members at Lerwick Port Authority in Shetland set to go on strike over pay dispute iStock

Union workers at a port in Shetland are set to go on strike in a dispute over pay, terms and conditions. 

On Wednesday, Unite the union confirmed members working at the Lerwick Port Authority will begin all-out strike action on Monday, June 20.

Around a dozen key workers will walk out of the main port in Shetland from 12.01am a week on Monday, as Unite members demand to be paid the same rate as those at other UK ports. 

Workers are also in dispute over other proposed changes to basic pay, overtime and pension contributions, with strike action set to impact cruise liners, oil and gas vessels and general shipping.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite will not allow Lerwick Port Authority to treat these workers as a second class workforce, paying them less than port workers around the UK.  

“The Authority can afford to pay decent rates for the job. We won’t tolerate any further attacks on our members’ pay and conditions.  Our members have their union’s full support in this fight to be paid the rate for the job.”

John Clark, Unite industrial officer, added: “Our members are rightly angry and frustrated at the glacial pace of talks with the company. For the first time in many years, they have decided to take all-out strike action along with the ongoing overtime ban which will bring the port to a standstill. 

“There are active discussions with Lerwick Port but so far nothing meaningful has emerged from this. We hope that the imminent strike action will concentrate the minds of management and that they will finally give our members what they deserve.”

Captain Calum Grains, chief executive of Lerwick Port Authority, said: “The potential escalation of industrial action by Unite members to a full strike is extremely disappointing given a proposal is with Unite and a meeting is confirmed for next week. We remain committed to finding a resolution with our staff.

“With contingency measures in place, we continue to make every effort to minimise any effect on our customers.”

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