Dockers strike in Tilbury for first time in 23 years

by - 7th May 2012, 8.00 BST

The first strike by dockers at Tilbury in Essex since 1989 is being held today, protesting at the arbitrary introduction of new contracts.

The 45 employees of  the Enterprise Distribution Centre (EDC) – members of Unite – will be staging a 24-hour strike from 10.00pm today until 10.00pm on tomorrow.

The workers will be picketing outside the main gate of Tilbury docks in the dispute over the company’s decision to introduce a ‘follow the ship’ contract. This means that staff work when the ships are ready for unloading, and not to set shift patterns.

Unite regional officer Jane Jeffery said: “Our members are set to lose about £2,500-a-year because EDC is arbitrarily imposing these new contracts.

“Members are annoyed at the complete lack of negotiation and consultation. Since the ballot for strike action, we have had no formal communication with the company.

“We want to hold meaningful and genuine talks with the management on this issue. This is a 24-hour strike – the first by the dockers in 23 years – but more strikes could be on the cards, if there is no movement in this dispute.”

EDC deals with the unloading and distribution of paper reels.