Page last updated at 08:11 GMT, Thursday, 20 November 2008

Port workers' 48-hour strike ends

Dover strike
Striking workers stopped lorry drivers at the port to put across their case

A 48-hour strike by more than 300 workers at one of the UK's busiest ports has ended.

Members of the Unite union walked out on Tuesday in a row over the privatisation of their jobs.

The workers ended their strike at 0700 GMT. Another three-day strike will be held next week.

But Dover Harbour Board chief executive Bob Goldfield said the strike was pointless and the action had not caused any disruption.

The second strike is due to begin on 27 November.

'Damaged operation'

Unite has said that if jobs are transferred to a private firm, its members will suffer.

Jane Jeffery, of Unite, said: "The strike hasn't been a waste of time. The schedule that the ferries have been running to has been a schedule that has been put in place for this dispute.

"Our guys on the picket line have been watching those ferries. They know, they know, that they've damaged the operation. That is why they demanded that we announced further strikes fight their cause."

Mr Goldfield said the people striking were denying their families income in hard economic times and had been misled by people who were supposed to be representing them.

The harbour board wants to turn the former Hoverport at the Western Docks into a second ferry terminal with a new marina and four new berths.

The board said a second terminal would help create 1,000 new jobs locally and also ease traffic problems.

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