Union and port bosses agree to talks

Striking Forth Ports workers on picket duty at the entrance to the tanker terminal
Picture: Michael Gillen
Striking Forth Ports workers on picket duty at the entrance to the tanker terminal Picture: Michael Gillen

A strike by workers at Grangemouth Docks has been suspended after both sides agreed to talks.

The dispute with members of the Unite union and Forth Ports was over changes to contracts.

But it has been announced that arrangements are being made with the conciliation service Acas to get round the table in the hope of reaching an agreement.

Unite said picket lines would be lifted and about 80 port workers would make “a full return to work” by Monday.

Crane drivers and loaders began a two-week strike on Tuesday, with Unite claiming that new rotas being introduced by Forth Ports amounted to a “de facto pay cut”.

Yesterday, Unite claimed that fuel supplies to forecourts in Scotland and the north of England could be hit by the strike.

Forth Ports said only its container quayside operations had been affected by the action.

In a joint statement tonight, the suspension to the strike was announced: “In an attempt to end the current industrial action both Unite and Forth Ports will meet with ACAS next week to discuss the new shift pattern.

“Therefore the strike and overtime ban will be suspended from 6am on Monday and the company will defer implementing the new shift roster to allow talks to take place early next week.”

Unite regional officer Sandy Smart said: “We are pleased that Forth Port’s management have lifted their imposition on our members’ shift rotas and agreed to enter into conciliation.

“Our strike action will now be suspended with immediate effect and picket lines will be lifted, enabling full operations at the port to get underway again.

“This is an important first step on the path to resolving this dispute. If Forth Port’s management approach the conciliation with the same spirit in which they accepted our offer then we will be able to negotiate a mutually agreeable outcome.”