DOCKERS at the Port of Tilbury have gone on strike for the second time in the space of a week over attempts to introduce zero-hour contracts.

The 11-day strike began yesterday morning over fears the 24-strong workforce at Swedish firm SCA Logistics would be replaced by lower paid agency or casual workers if the zero-hour contracts are introduced.

The workers, represented by Unite the Union, went on a 48-strike as recently as May 27 in opposition to plans but say the firm’s unchanged position has left them no choice but to strike again.

Jane Jeffrey, Unite regional officer, said: “The hardline management of the Swedish-owned SCA Logistics has not moved since the 48-hour strike last month and our members have no choice, but to take this 11-day action to bring the management to the negotiating table. “Unite will strongly resist the very real threat of the workforce at this company becoming 100 per cent employed on zero hours contracts. Already the use of agency workers on zero hour contracts is on the increase.

“If management is allowed to have its way, we will be turning the clock back 50 years to the bad old days when you had to rely on the tap on the shoulder to see if you had work for the day in the docks.

“Wages could drop substantially, while the cost of living continues to rise.”

She added the union believed management was committed to prolonging the dispute in order to break a collective agreement with Unite.

SCA Logistics refused to comment on the strike action.