Dock workers from PD Ports to hold ballot to vote for industrial action

Prince Charles during his visit to PD Ports in November.

Prince Charles during his visit to PD Ports in November.

First published in News The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

DOCK workers have claimed their employer is using bullying tactics after they voted to seek a ballot over strike action after rejecting a 2.7 per cent pay offer from the owners of a North-East port.

The director of human resources from PD Ports has written to all members of the staff served by the Port Council stating he believes the ballot will prove ‘wholly futile’ and damage the company and its employees.

One worker who has received the letter believes that the tone of the letter is designed to intimidate colleagues who are fighting for a pay rise.

The Unite union member, who didn’t want to be named said: “Members voted in favour of holding a ballot for industrial action and the majority of the 440 staff voted in support.

“People might look at the offer of 2.7 percent and think it is well above average, which it is, but not many people realise the level of pay for many of the people who work at the docks. There are many workers who are being paid little more than minimum wage for what can be an extremely dangerous job.

“As far as I’m concerned this is a deliberate attempt to bully and intimidate workers into accepting their pay offer.”

Members of Unite were informed about the result of the vote at the beginning of the month and were warned that the process to get to a ballot for industrial action could take several weeks.

The letter from Russ McCallion (CORR), PD Ports’ group human resources director, was sent out last week to all staff who work at the docks near Middlesbrough.

“I am writing to you because I believe that there is a real danger that the Port Council is seeking industrial action that will prove both wholly futile and damaging to the company and our employees,” he wrote.

He added the offer will remain on the table until the end of April but staff were warned that there will not be an increase in the offer.

“The Port Council says that the company’s behaviour in confirming the final offer of 2.7 per cent increase is ‘insulting’. That is extraordinary. The company management has the utmost respect for our employees and does not feel that making an offer at the top end of our affordability and at the top end of all wage settlements does anything other than confirm that respect.

“The company has been totally honest in advising the Port Council from the start of negotiations that there was a realistic increase being tabled,” he wrote.

The date for the vote for industrial action has yet to be set.

Comments (4)

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11:33am Thu 20 Mar 14

Teeside Docker says...

I realize most people will have little support for our cause because of the past reputations of dockers from years ago but things are a far cry from them days.Teesside dockers are among the lowest payed in the country and indeed in our local industry for what is an extremely hazardous job. The only people who are on good wages now are the managers for which there seems to be no ceiling to their pay or bonus`s. They can`t afford to give us a decent pay rise but find no shortage of money to make up extra managerial posts on what seems like a weekly basis. Its also the way in which we as a workforce are treat with such contempt by the management. Its about time these arrogant bullys realise just who it is that is the backbone of the company, its not all these people sat in their ivory towers who are putting them selves at risk day in day out or working weekend after weekend,double shifts and endless quick returns its us. So before your readers are too quick to judge just remember we are just working class people struggling to get slightly better conditions from people on massive salaries,company cars,bonus`s free healthcare etc etc who think we should be happy with what ever they offer us when its us that actually do the work and make the actual profit for the company.
I realize most people will have little support for our cause because of the past reputations of dockers from years ago but things are a far cry from them days.Teesside dockers are among the lowest payed in the country and indeed in our local industry for what is an extremely hazardous job. The only people who are on good wages now are the managers for which there seems to be no ceiling to their pay or bonus`s. They can`t afford to give us a decent pay rise but find no shortage of money to make up extra managerial posts on what seems like a weekly basis. Its also the way in which we as a workforce are treat with such contempt by the management. Its about time these arrogant bullys realise just who it is that is the backbone of the company, its not all these people sat in their ivory towers who are putting them selves at risk day in day out or working weekend after weekend,double shifts and endless quick returns its us. So before your readers are too quick to judge just remember we are just working class people struggling to get slightly better conditions from people on massive salaries,company cars,bonus`s free healthcare etc etc who think we should be happy with what ever they offer us when its us that actually do the work and make the actual profit for the company. Teeside Docker
  • Score: 3

12:28pm Thu 20 Mar 14

David Lacey says...

You are flirting with disaster, just like your predecessors did. And you know what happened to them. There are plenty of UK ports looking for business. Keep on moaning about well paid bosses, bullying etc and you will find yourself sitting at home on the dole.
You are flirting with disaster, just like your predecessors did. And you know what happened to them. There are plenty of UK ports looking for business. Keep on moaning about well paid bosses, bullying etc and you will find yourself sitting at home on the dole. David Lacey
  • Score: -3

6:44am Fri 21 Mar 14

enigma 1066 says...

David you are the type of man who has let this once over great country go to **** cause of your spineless attitude . People at PD ports work hard and make the company millions of pounds year in and year out working in poor conditions as well so don't judge and make comments you clearly do have a clue about .
David you are the type of man who has let this once over great country go to **** cause of your spineless attitude . People at PD ports work hard and make the company millions of pounds year in and year out working in poor conditions as well so don't judge and make comments you clearly do have a clue about . enigma 1066
  • Score: 2

3:18pm Fri 21 Mar 14

Teeside Docker says...

David Lacey says..." blah blah blah"

I was`nt going to respond to this comment I put my original comment up to hopefully stop ill informed idiots making comments like David`s.

I really hope that fate dictates that we will receive the same outcome as our predecessors which was as you clearly have no idea what you are talking about was ,a healthy redundancy and taken back on as a sub contractor the following week ,a great pension after having worked under excellent conditions and pay for years. None of these things do we receive the few employees that were looking forward to a decent pension have now had that taken away by these awful employers. Say what you want about other people being glad of what the dockers have been offered but they would be much happier receiving the pay and benefits of the management who work for PD. I notice they are quick to post our salaries in the press but refuse to answer any questions about their own or bonus`s etc. The dockers nowadays receive a real basic salary with no shift allowance they work most weekends,double shifts and quick returns in an extremely dangerous environment for less pay than the average postman. So get your facts right.
David Lacey says..." blah blah blah" I was`nt going to respond to this comment I put my original comment up to hopefully stop ill informed idiots making comments like David`s. I really hope that fate dictates that we will receive the same outcome as our predecessors which was as you clearly have no idea what you are talking about was ,a healthy redundancy and taken back on as a sub contractor the following week ,a great pension after having worked under excellent conditions and pay for years. None of these things do we receive the few employees that were looking forward to a decent pension have now had that taken away by these awful employers. Say what you want about other people being glad of what the dockers have been offered but they would be much happier receiving the pay and benefits of the management who work for PD. I notice they are quick to post our salaries in the press but refuse to answer any questions about their own or bonus`s etc. The dockers nowadays receive a real basic salary with no shift allowance they work most weekends,double shifts and quick returns in an extremely dangerous environment for less pay than the average postman. So get your facts right. Teeside Docker
  • Score: 2

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