Fears are growing that the huge strikes which militant unions have unleashed at Felixstowe – Britain’s biggest container port and gateway to global trade – will trigger widespread disruption to the UK supply chain, interrupt £700million worth of trade and lead to shortages until Christmas.

Unite has started eight days of strike action at Suffolk port. Unite bosses, hardline union leaders, play chicken with UK’s economy and the lives of millions in dispute over wages.

The unprecedented strike at Felixstowe, which handles nearly half of the containerised freight entering the country, is estimated to disrupt hundreds of millions of pounds in trade and trigger goods shortages, including at supermarkets such as Asda, Tesco and Marks & Spencer.

Experts warn that fuel shortages may push up the prices of products and fuel, causing an already alarming inflation. This could even cause it to soar by Christmas as Britons are facing the worst cost-of-living crisis they have faced in over 60 years.  

Due to delayed imports and exports, delays in the delivery of parts will likely affect Rolls Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, and JCB manufacturers. 

Maersk, the biggest container shipping group in the world, already diverted three ships from the port of Maersk to another European port. Fears are increasing that Britain might lose more of its shipping to Europe.

A further 11 ships could also be affected by strikes, the firm said. However, one port source stated that the strike will not result in a catastrophic event. They claimed that disruptions to the supply chain were caused by the pandemic. 

The latest industrial action is hitting a growing number sectors. Rail workers strike; teachers and NHS staff are threatening mass walkouts to stop them from getting higher wages amid the cost-of-living crisis. This demand Boris Johnson’s government fears will cause a vicious cycle of rising wage costs that could further harm households.

A shopper browses an empty aisle amid warnings that strike action at the Port of Felixstowe is set to disrupt £700m worth of trade

A shopper browses an empty aisle amid warnings that strike action at the Port of Felixstowe is set to disrupt £700m worth of trade

hipping containers and empty lorry loading area are seen at the port of Felixstowe, Suffolk, where an eight-day strike began yesterday

Hipping containers can be seen in the Felixstowe port, Suffolk. This is where an eight-day strike started yesterday.

Maersk, one of the world¿s largest container shipping groups, has already diverted three ships to alternative ports in Europe

Maersk is one of the largest container shipping companies in the world and has diverted three vessels to other ports in Europe.

union bosses say will send 'massive shockwaves' through the UK's supply chain with disruption through until Christmas later this year

According to union leaders, disruptions will continue through Christmas this year and send shockwaves through Britain’s supply chain.

Dockers protest near the main gate of Felixstowe Port on Sunday as an eight-day strike, called by the Unite trade union began over pay

As an eight day strike by Unite over wages began, Dockers protested near Felixstowe Port’s main entrance.

Port of Felixstowe: Eight-day Strike at Port of Felixstowe: Christmas Stockings at Zero 

Felixstowe handles almost half the containerized freight that enters the country. The eight-day strike could result in vessels being diverted to other ports within the UK and Europe.

It is the largest port in the UK and has been favored due to its location near the major European shipping lanes. There are 17 shipping lanes and it handles approximately four million containers each year.

But strike action is likely to disrupt £700m worth of trade and will have a direct impact on brands such as Asda, John Lewis, Tesco and Marks & Spencer, The Times reports.

Due to delayed imports and exports, delays in the delivery of parts will likely affect Rolls Royce, Jaguar Land Rover, and JCB manufacturers. 

Maersk, the biggest container shipping group in the world, already diverted three ships from the port of Maersk to Europe after the industrial strike.  

He stated that disruption is now the norm. Supply chain management has changed from “just in time” to “just in case”. 

With warnings that there could be a ripple effect in the economy, electronics and clothing are most vulnerable.

Union members chose to strike even though the Port of Felixstowe claimed it would offer workers an 8 per cent increase in average pay, with employees on lower wages getting nearly 10 percent. 

Unite claimed that Unite didn’t consult 1,900 workers on the offer for a salary deal after they had voted them in on the first strike since 1989. 

Yesterday’s strike vote resulted in more than 9-1 votes for strikes among crane operators, machine operators, and stevedores.

Unite says the owner of the port, which made £61m in profit in 2020, can afford to pay more than the seven per cent pay increase it is currently offering and claims the strike will have a big impact on day-to-day operations. 

Robert Morton, Unite said that strike action would cause great disruption… in the UK’s supply chains. However, this dispute is completely the company’s fault. 

According to him, the BBC was blaming him. [operator]Hutchison Ports, for all the efforts they have made in putting [this pay rise]” 

However, the Port of Felixstowe responded by saying that it was disappointed it had not accepted our invitation to come back to them. 

The company’s spokesperson stated that they recognize these difficult times, but believe the offer of the company, which is worth more than 8 percent on average over the current fiscal year and closer towards 10 percent for workers with lower salaries, was fair. 

By failing to consult our workers on the offer, ‘Unite is putting them in a difficult position. They will be losing their wages by striking. 

“The port regrets any negative impact that this decision will have on UK supply chain. Unite, which is a union representing dock workers, states that the proposal falls significantly below the inflation rate and follows an below inflation increase in the last year. 

Felixstowe is responsible for nearly half the nation’s containerized freight. This could lead to vessels having to divert. 

Hutchison Ports was the Suffolk port operator. It claimed that its workers’ union (which represents approximately 500 employees) had agreed to their agreement. 

Although it has created a contingency planning for the week, there are concerns that this could just be the beginning. 

Members of Unite on the picket line on Sunday morning. The union says the port's owners can afford to give them more than an 8% pay rise

Unite activists at the picket lines on Sunday morning. According to the union, port owners are capable of giving them more pay than 8%.

Nearly 2,000 workers have gone on strike at the Port of Felixstowe in Suffolk in a dispute over pay

In a dispute about pay, nearly 2,000 workers went on strike at Port of Felixstowe, Suffolk.

A shopper looks at the empty shelves of Christmas Turkey in Sainsbury's supermarket in north London amid warnings of shortages this winter

Sainsbury’s north London store shelves are empty of Christmas Turkey amid concerns about shortages. A Shopper inspects them.

Around half of the UK's standard-sized containers move through the Suffolk port every single year

Every year, the Suffolk port handles approximately half the UK’s container-sized cargoes.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary yesterday, promised that she will support her colleagues at every stage of the process. 

The militant leader who has held over 450 strikes at a cost of £150m to employers in just one year fired off a series of bellicose tweets. 

She claimed that docks can afford to offer decent wages and Unite will support workers. 

After Mick Lynch, the general secretary of RMT union called for a general strikes if necessary Liz Truss is elected Prime Minister. She introduces legislation that will stop strikes from affecting the country.

In her Tory leadership race, Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truscott has promised to end’militant activity’ by trade unions from ‘paralyzing the economy.

Lynch said to the i newspaper, however that legislation would require ‘coordinated synchronised industrial actions’.

He said that the’very dangerous situation’ could result in the country being relegated to ‘Victorian Times’.

General strikes, as the Trades Union Congress (TUC), refer to workers who refuse work in multiple areas until they are satisfied with their demands.

Now energy prices could rocket past £6,000 a year this Spring: Fears grow that soaring cost of electricity and gas could plunge millions of UK households into Christmas blackouts as experts warn of looming winter power crisis

Daniel Jones, The Mail On Sunday Consumer Affairs Editor and Elizabeth Haigh MailOnline 

Energy bills for the typical family could reach £6,000 a year by next April, it emerged last night.

The new figures reveal that the energy price cap will reach even higher levels in next year’s future, according to updated data.

The £6,089 figure, released by energy consultants Auxilione yesterday, represents a five-fold increase on where bills were until April this year, before wholesale prices took off and the price cap began to spiral.

Since then, gas prices have spiked to levels never seen before, as Vladimir Putin’s regime slashed supplies.Hard-pressed families are struggling with bills and face the prospect of more rises over the winter.

On Friday, regulator Ofgem will announce the level of the price cap to run from October – as winter hits and energy use rises. It is expected to increase from £1,971 to a crippling £3,576 a year for typical users.

It is feared millions will be unable to pay bills over the next year, unless Ministers increase the current £400 they’ve promised households as a discount.

Those who get into debt could be moved to prepayment meters (PPMs) – where they have to pay in advance for gas and electricity, plus pay extra each time they top up to pay off the money owed.

The Mail on Sunday may reveal:

  • In preparation for record amounts of defaults by families, energy companies have placed orders for hundreds of thousands PPMs.
  • Between January and June, they obtained over 200,000 warrants to enter homes in order to install PPMs.
  • Without their consent, they are planning to transfer people who have accepted smart meters to pre-payment agreements.

Britain is currently in a crisis of cost-of living, and the price cap increase comes as a result. Inflation has risen to ten percent.

Tory leaders have been dominated by the looming financial crisis. Rival camps are under intense pressure to outline their strategies to address it.

Kwasi Kwarteng – who looks set to be the next Chancellor – writes in The Mail on Sunday today that ‘help is coming’. It will also be urgently required by consumer groups as well as MPs.

 UK gas prices are soaring after Russia began throttling off supplies to Europe, causing a global shortage as EU leaders scramble for supplies

What does the “cap” mean and how does it function? 

How high is the energy price limit?

It was introduced in 2019 as a means of restricting what energy companies charge consumers. Until last April it stood at £1,277, and then it was hiked 54 per cent to £1,971 for the average user. Importantly, this cap doesn’t apply to businesses. Businesses face full brunt for the increases.

This week, what’s the news?

The next rise will be announced on Friday, and the cap is expected to go up to £3,576. New rules mean it will be updated every three months from October and it is predicted to go up again in January, to £4,799.

Is April the best month?

Industry experts predict it will be more than £6,000 – that means in the space of a year, the average bill is up around five-fold.

What’s the Government doing to address it?

The Government has promised £400 discount for every household over the winter, plus an extra £650 for hard-up families and cash for pensioners.

However, this won’t suffice.

No. That package was announced when the cap was predicted to be lower – at £2,800, some £700 lower than it will be from October.

The question is, what does the new PM do now?

Liz Truss has so far said little other than suggesting she will axe the green levy, saving bill payers around £150, but Kwasi Kwarteng, likely to be Chancellor in a Truss government, tells the MoS that ‘help is on its way’. Rishi Sunak has said he will find up to £10 billion to soften the impact for up to 16 million vulnerable people.

Critics argue that more assistance is needed and more specific help will be required for people with low incomes.

They do what else?

France’s state-owned EDF has been forced to keep price increases below 4 percent by France. Holland is offering some households €800 (£680) off, plus cutting VAT. Germany is giving €300 (£250) off, plus a further €100 (£85) per child. Italy will give families €200 (£170).

Rocio CONCHA, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Which? Consumer advocates. According to Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at Which? consumer advocates which?

“The government must urgently take further actions. Companies must also ensure that customers get a fair deal, and those in hardship are not left behind.

Thangam Debbonaire (Labour MP) said, “People are forced to make unthinkable decisions.”

The controversial PPMs were created to cut homes off when they ran out of cash. If a customer has no credit, after an ’emergency’ cushion – typically £10 – they receive no energy.

In the past, energy firms had to obtain a court order to physically install a PPM – with a slot for a key or card to add top-ups, typically bought at a local newsagent.

However, it was revealed this week that smart-meter families will automatically be switched to prepayment plans in the event they are unable to pay their bills.

Critics say smart meters, which are connected via the web to energy company computers, were sold to households as a way to help them cut usage – with no mention of this ‘secret functionality’.

The warrants can be applied for by energy companies to replace analogue meters that are still in use. Suppliers say in such cases they will aim to put in smart meters – turning the pre-payment functionality on and off – since it is cheaper in the long run. Families can refuse to install a smartmeter. An older PPM could be used.

According to one source, it was a difficult winter for both families and suppliers who have to work with people who can’t pay the bills. It may surprise people but we don’t like high bills – there’s a bigger chance customers cannot pay. We want to help them avoid getting in debt, which is why you will see most companies asking for the Government to give more help – and up the £400 discount.

“But, we know that hundreds of thousands, or even millions, won’t have the money to pay. We need to figure out how we can get it back. Prepayment meters are here to help.

Ofgem explained that it is their top priority to protect consumers and that suppliers should never install a prepaymentmeter.

Matthew Taylor is the Chief Executive of NHS Confederation. He stated that elderly people are more likely to die in cold homes and will be forced into poverty to get energy.

The group asserts that this will not only cause an “public health emergency”, but also put pressure on the NHS which, as it stands, is already facing a crisis.

It states that the letter urges you to urgently take additional actions to help those most in need as winter approaches.

‘We have been asked to convene this letter on an issue where NHS leaders, would not usually intervene – but they feel they can no longer stay silent.

“Their first point is that the crisis in cost of living has already caused great suffering within their communities.

The NHS Confederation explained that those who cannot afford to heat their home, buy nutritious food or cook a hot meal will see their health 'quickly deteriorate'. This will cause a rise in the number of annual deaths linked to cold homes ¿ which already hits 10,000 per year

According to the NHS Confederation, those who can’t afford heat or nutritious food will suffer from a rapid decline in their health. This will cause a rise in the number of annual deaths linked to cold homes – which already hits 10,000 per year

“With rising energy prices, people fear they will be forced to choose between not having enough food to heat their homes, or being forced to live in freezing, damp conditions.

This will invariably lead to increased illness across the country from a medical perspective.

“It will cause worse outcomes in health, including harming children’s lives chances and exacerbating existing health inequalities.

According to the NHS, those who can’t afford heat or nutritious food will quickly see their health decline.

This will cause a rise in the number of annual deaths linked to cold homes – which already stands at 10,000 a year.

Small business across the UK are facing serious challenges and even closure as the cost of living crisis bites (Pictured: The Faulkland Inn, Bath)

The cost of living is causing serious difficulties for small business owners in the UK.

As people attempt to cut down on energy costs, millions of houses will be left very cold.

Gas prices have been spiraling for many reasons. Prices rose first after lockdowns were lifted around the world during the coronavirus epidemic. A huge increase in gas prices was also a result of the sharp rise in gas demand.

The war in Ukraine made this situation even worse across the globe and Europe. The Russian gas supply to Europe has been drastically cut since then.

The gas price has risen to levels not seen before.

New figures this week revealed that the UK’s inflation rate has now reached at least 10.1%, a signal of the severity of the crisis. This is the first time the figure has been above 10% since 1982. 

There are many families in Britain struggling to make ends meet for basic needs like food, rent and bills.

The average food bill is set to increase by £533 this year, a serious concern for many families who are already grappling with the choice between eating and heating this winter.

The winter could lead to an increase in pressure on NHS services, which already are at crisis point. There may also be higher levels of child poverty and homelessness. 

As PM Boris Johnson comes under increased pressure, critics are blaming him for not introducing any additional measures to help the public until the Conservative leader election winner is announced.

Recent weeks have seen him on two different holidays, while senior government members including the Chancellor took breaks.

After research revealed a 10.1% inflation rate and new Ofgem price caps predictions, there has been backlash online. There is also the risk of 45 million people falling into fuel poverty in winter.

A spokesperson for Downing Street stated earlier this month that it wasn’t up to the PM to make financial interventions in this time period as he returned from honeymoon.

During the last month of his premiership, Mr Johnson is expected to pick up around £13,600 in salary.

“It will be up to a future prime minster to determine what fiscal interventions or physical interventions are needed, but I would just note that both candidates have spoken about providing additional support,” his spokesperson stated.

When asked if it would be fair to claim that the PM was’missing from action’, the spokesperson said “no” and added: “There are significant amounts already being done. Concerning cost of living, the prime minister is going to speak with the chancellor in order to confirm that any support received later in the year will continue on its track.

Gordon Brown was one of the leading critics of the government’s ‘vacuum-like’ approach to summer.

There are fears the cost of living crisis could lead to higher rates of child poverty and homelessness

Fears that the cost-of-living crisis will lead to greater rates of child poverty, and even homelessness in children are real

The average grocery shopping bill is set to rise by £533 this year, new figures released this week show

The average grocery shopping bill is set to rise by £533 this year, new figures released this week show

Boris Johnson (right) poses with locals during a visit to a restaurant on his recent holiday to Greece

Boris Johnson (right), takes a photo with the locals after a recent visit to a Greek restaurant.

Thee PM pictured with son Wilfred in Greece. He has been criticised for refusing to intervene in the cost of living crisis before his successor replaces him

Photo of Thee PM and his son Wilfred taken in Greece His refusal to act in the crisis of cost-of-living before his successor is appointed has led to him being criticised.

The PM was seen enjoying dinner and drinks while staying abroad in one of two holidays in a matter of weeks

In a matter weeks, the PM was seen having dinner with drinks and while on vacation in another country.

Even small businesses face difficulties. People are leaving restaurants and bars to save some money, which is particularly bad for pubs and restaurants.

A 280-year old pub in Bath is one of the venues that is at risk of being closed.

Radstock’s Faulkland inn, located 10 miles away from Bath, was first open to the public when George II was on throne, and Britain was fighting with Spain.

The soaring energy prices seem too difficult despite having survived more than a dozen recessions as well as two world wars.

According to the Guardian, eight people are losing their jobs as the village pub faces closure. This is because the landlord cannot afford to pay the electricity bills.

‘Our gas and energy bills have doubled since April and we’re facing annual fuel costs of at least £20,000, which will wipe out our profits,’ says the landlord, Andy Machen.

‘Until April we needed to make £2,500 over the four days a week we are open in order to break even; now we’d need to make £4,000 and are paying staff out of our personal savings.’

Because of rising fuel costs, many pubs are at risk of being closed down.

Martin McTague (national chair of Federation of Small Businesses) has stated that rising taxes and energy costs as well as inflation are causing a toxic cocktail, which means that action is urgently needed.

He stated that the “cost of living crisis cannot be resolved without dealing with the cost of doing businesses crisis.”

Sir Robert Goodwill (Tory MP) was criticized yesterday for suggesting that cooks must be taught if people want to keep up to date with increasing bills. 

Ofgem has set a price limit for energy, but it does not restrict the profit that suppliers of energy can make.

Customers are not protected from volatile wholesale energy prices.

The consultants forecast that bills will slowly drop in the second half of next year, to £5,486 in July and £5,160 in October 2023. However, this won’t be much of a comfort for families already experiencing financial hardship.