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Dispute over shifts

Workers strike at Grangemouth container port

Port of Grangemouth
Port of Grangemouth

A two-week strike has begun at the Port of Grangemouth, Scotland’s largest container port, in a dispute over shifts.

The Unite union says the changes are tantamount to a pay cut and its members have voted to strike until 29 March.

Unite regional officer Sandy Smart said: “We are on the verge of a prolonged strike action at Scotland’s biggest port because of Forth Ports’ draconian approach to employment relations.

“The basics of good relations are consultation and negotiation but Forth Ports completely ignored this to impose a range of measures that will cause significant financial detriment to their employees.”

Forth Ports described the action as “unjustified”. In a statement it said: “We are proposing alterations to shift patterns in response to the changing needs of our customers, whose vessels call at the port seven days a week. Our staff and their union accepted the need for such flexibility, and that shift patterns may require to change in the future, when this element of their employment contracts was agreed in 2011.

 “With regret, as a consequence of the proposed strike, we have decided to close the port’s quayside container operations from midnight on Monday 14th March as this strike action would prevent us from being able to serve the needs of our customers efficiently. All other operations at the port remain open.

 “We sincerely hope that our staff, and their union, will cancel this strike and work with us to implement the changes necessary to enable the Port of Grangemouth to meet the changing demands of our customers.”

The company last year invested in increased capacity for handling refrigerated containers at the port.

It said this will maintain the Port of Grangemouth’s position as the largest reefer facility in Scotland.

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