A fresh strike by dock workers at one of the UK’s biggest ports will go ahead from next week after talks failed to resolve a pay dispute.
Members of Unite in Liverpool will walk out on Monday after the union said negotiations ended talks in “chaos”.
Unite accused the board of operators Peel Ports of intervening to stop a proposed deal.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Unite team negotiated in good faith with Peel Ports, but the talks ended in farce, with the deal agreed between Unite and senior management being pulled by the board.
“Strike action by our members and with the full support of Unite will go ahead.
“Peel Ports’ untrustworthy behaviour and its attempts to threaten the workforce are only escalating the dispute.”
Peel Ports chief operating officer David Huck said: “It’s hugely disappointing that Unite has staged yet another outdated show-of-hands mass meeting which has, very predictably, failed to support our improved 11% pay offer.
“This is the highest percentage increase of any port group in the UK by far and would see average annual pay rise to £43,275.
“Given we have now improved our offer six times and Unite have consistently blocked the involvement of Acas to help arbitrate, you have to question whether the union really wants to resolve this damaging industrial action or is simply prolonging it for their own ends.
“The fact that they have refused to give all employees an independent postal vote on this 11% offer, free from the pressures and undue influence of an outdated show-of-hands, is very telling.
“Our feedback from many, many workers is that they are in favour of accepting but are too reluctant to do so in a mass meeting.
“Meanwhile, the latest two-week strike will cause yet further damage to our customers, the business and the Liverpool City Region, threating even more jobs at the port.
“It’s wholly irresponsible of Unite to prolong this self-defeating strike.
“They should have the courage to put this to members and let them have their say.
“It’s the only way to safeguard as many jobs as possible and implement the most generous pay increase in the industry.”
Unite national officer Robert Morton said: “Our members’ resolve is only increasing with every new low the company sinks to.
“They know Peel Ports can afford to pay a proper increase and that is what has to happen.”