SOME staff at Foyle Port in Derry are taking strike action over pay today, Monday, November 29.
Members of the trade union Unite said the strike is expected to significantly affect port operations.
The union said the dispute centres on a rejected demand for a 2.1% pay rise this year, following a pay freeze.
Foyle Port said average remuneration for employees last year was 58% above the median annual earnings for the local council area.
Unite said that almost every worker at the port and their families were “struggling to make ends meet and now face a second year of poverty pay”.
Foyle Port said the Unite statement “does not accurately reflect the context of the ongoing dispute with a minority of employees at Foyle Port”.
The spokesperson added that they “wholly reject the loaded term ‘poverty pay’, as referenced in the union’s statement” and said they have “consistently paid inflationary rises over many years”.
On Monday morning, between 25 and 30 Unite members were at a picket line at the port.
The union, which represents workers at Foyle Port, previously wrote to the Port and Harbour Commissioners outlining the background to strike action.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said a recent survey of members working in Foyle Port showed that “almost every worker there is suffering growing financial hardship”.
“The effects of last year’s pay freeze combined with significant levels of inflation means that our members have had their pay cut in real terms,” Ms Graham said.
“Trying to make ends meet is getting tougher and tougher for our members and their families year by year.”
The port’s senior management team said they were confident about reaching agreement with the trade union earlier this week, and were “disappointed the process did not result in agreement”.
They said Foyle Port “remains committed to finding an affordable solution which can provide long-term organisational stability”.
Meanwhile, some workers at Burke Shipping Services, which is also located at Foyle Port, are continuing strike action on Monday.
They are continuing strike action from last Friday over a separate pay grievance.
Burke Shipping Service workers at the picket line on Monday told BBC Radio Foyle they want pay parity with Foyle Port employees, as well as others in the shipping industry.Tags: