Moves by the hardline management of SCA Logistics, based at Tilbury docks, to drive down wages by introducing zero hours contracts has sparked an 11-day strike which started this morning (Thursday 5 June).
The dockers, members of Unite, the country’s largest union, started the 11-day stoppage at 06.00 today and it will run until 05.59 Monday 16 June. The strikers number about 24.
The dispute centres on fears that the permanent workforce will be replaced by lower paid agency/casual workers on zero hours contracts. The workers staged a 48-hour strike on this issue at the end of last month.
Unite regional officer Jane Jeffery said: “The hardline management of the Swedish-owned SCA Logistics has not moved since the 48-hour strike last month and our members have no choice, but to take this 11-day action to bring the management to the negotiating table.
“Unite will strongly resist the very real threat of the workforce at this company becoming 100 per cent employed on zero hours contracts. Already the use of agency workers on zero hours contracts is on the increase.
“If management is allowed to have its way, we will be turning the clock back 50 years to the bad old days when you had to rely on the tap on the shoulder to see if you had work for the day in the docks.
“Wages could drop substantially, while the cost of living continues to rise.”
Jane Jeffery said that the management appeared firmly committed to prolonging the dispute in a bid to break the collective agreement that it had freely entered into with Unite.
The strike will only hit vessels being serviced by SCA Logistics at Tilbury.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
• Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.