Mersey docks dispute intensifies

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The Independent Online
The eight month dispute at Mersey docks reached a new intensity yesterday when the port's biggest container customer decided to withdraw its business until there is a settlement. The Mersey Docks and Harbour Company chose to interpret the decision by the Atlantic Container Line as "permanent" and withdrew its offer of an pounds 8m package to 329 sacked dockers, warning that the loss of business would mean at least 80 new redundancies.

However, a spokesman for the shipping line in New Jersey said the company wanted the two parties to "come to their senses". He conceded that shipping line's switch to Thames Port was "not necessarily" a permanent decision. The dispute began last September when the dismissed port workers refused to cross a picket line mounted by colleagues from another port company. The men have demanded full reinstatement and the dismissal of 150 workers taken on to replace them.