The appointment of former transport minister Chris Grayling MP to a £100,000 a year part time advisory role at Felixstowe port is an ‘insult’ to staff shouldering pay reductions due to the coronavirus downturn, Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, said today (Tuesday 17 September). 

Unite said the seven hour a week role is an ‘slap in the face’ for hourly paid staff who have had their Christmas bonus cancelled and undergone detrimental shift changes to help the port’s owner, Hutchison Ports Europe, weather the impact of the pandemic. 

The union, which has more than 2,000 members at the port, said Hutchinson Ports ‘clearly has money to burn’ if it can afford to spend £100,000 on an advisor who once awarded a £13.8m cross channel ferry contract to a company with no ferries.

Unite regional officer Miles Hubbard said: “Mr Grayling’s appointment by Hutchinson Ports is a slap in the face to its Felixstowe workforce. While still serving as an MP, Mr Grayling will pocket nearly £2,000 a week for just seven hours work. 

“For Felixstowe port’s hourly paid staff, who have lost their annual Christmas bonus and undergone detrimental shift changes to help the company get through the pandemic, Mr Grayling’s cushy number at the port is an insult. 

“Hutchinson Ports clearly has money to burn if it can afford to spend £100,000 on a part time advisor who once gave a multimillion-pound shipping contract to a company with no ships and who was dubbed ‘the worst transport secretary of all time’.”


During the coronavirus crisis Unite is working to keep workers and the public safe, to defend jobs and to protect incomes.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: [email protected]

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.