Pickets at docks as strike continues

Striking employees made their feelings clear to Forth Ports when they gathered outside the entrance of Grangemouth Docks today.

The workers are on strike for a scheduled two weeks over changes to shift patterns, which union bosses said amounted to a “de facto pay cut”.

Pickets outside Grangemouth Docks

Pickets outside Grangemouth Docks

Forth Ports, which claimed the new patterns are required to meet the needs of customers, stated the strike had forced it to temporarily close down quayside operations.

Unite members held a rally in Bowhouse Community Centre, in Grangemouth, last night before joining night shift colleagues on the picket line.

When the strikes end on March 29, a ban on overtime will begin.

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.

“We have repeatedly approached the employer in an effort to resolve this situation and avoid a damaging dispute but we have been stonewalled at every turn.

“The anger of our members is clear in the overwhelming support for strikes and their demands for proper negotiations concerning the future of their livelihoods.”

A Forth Ports spokesman said: “We have decided to close the port’s quayside container operations from midnight on Monday, March 14. All other operations at the port will remain open.

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