There are fears that food and drink supply chains could face serious disruption if the strikes go ahead.
The union said talks with ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) had failed to reach a 'satisfactory conclusion' after the Felixstowe Dock and Railway Company did not improve on its offer of a 7% pay increase. The union said this was 'significantly below' the real (RPI) inflation rate of 11.8%. Previously the company had offered a pay rise of 5%.
However, a company spokesman said the port continued to 'actively seek a solution' that worked for all parties.
Unite national office for docks Bobby Morton said: “Strike action will cause huge disruption and will generate massive shockwaves throughout the UK’s supply chain, but this dispute is entirely of the company’s own making. It has had every opportunity make our members a fair offer but has chosen not to do so.
"Felixstowe needs to stop prevaricating and make a pay offer which meets our members’ expectations.”
Cost of living
However, a company spokesperson said: “We understand our employees’ concerns at the rising cost of living and are determined to do all we can to help whilst continuing to invest in the port’s success. Discussions are on-going and the company's latest position in negotiations is an enhanced pay increase of 7%. We are meeting again on Monday 08 August with ACAS and the union.
“The port has not had a strike since 1989 and we are disappointed that the union has served notice of industrial action while talks are ongoing. The port provides secure and well-paid employment and there will be no winners from industrial action.”
Further talks are scheduled to take place at ACAS on 8 August.