Pay boost of up to 38 per cent for port workers

Unite the union today (19 July) confirmed that its members working at the Lerwick Port Authority have ended strike action following a pay deal which boosts wages by up to 38 per cent.

The dispute revolved around pay, pension contributions and work-life balance. Unite has secured a deal worth between 34 and 38 per cent for workers at the Port. The deal will enhance the hourly wage for semi-skilled workers from £10.41 to £14 per hour, and for skilled workers from £11.62 to £16 per hour. The pay deal will increase the pension contributions for Unite members by the employer. 

A new 12-month working rota has also been agreed which aims to cut working hours and to support the work-life balance of Unite members with a reduction in hours worked. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This fantastic deal will ensure that key workers at Lerwick Port will get a pay increase worth up to 38 per cent. It will help to bring the workers into line with industry standards. This success has only come through the brave stance our members have taken, and their efforts have been rewarded with a deal which delivers better jobs, pay and conditions across the board.” 

Around a dozen key workers, which includes engineers, electricians, joiners and general operatives, started a continuous ban on overtime from 00:01 hours on 25 May, and they have been on strike action since 20 June at the main port in the Shetland Islands. 

John Clark, Unite industrial officer, added: We are delighted to secure significantly better pay, terms and conditions for our members. The average pay rise of approximately between 34 and 38 per cent is a timely reminder that Unite will support workers who have been taken for granted over a number of years.  The successful negotiations have ensured that our members are now brought into line with the national agreements within their respective trades."  

Turnover at Lerwick Port Authority stands at £9.5 million in 2020. Lerwick received the 2021 Port of the Year Award and recently benefited from a £30m upgrade scheme.


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Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.