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Port dispute talks "useful"

Talks between union representatives and Dover Harbour Board officials aimed at settling the industrial dispute at the port are to continue tomorrow (Friday).

Officials from the Unite union met with port representatives today for what was described as a "useful" two-hour meeting.

Afterwards, both parties issued a joint statement in which they said: "The discussions have proved useful. We are meeting again tomorrow."

The dispute is over the board’s decision to privatise 190 mooring, trailer-handling and security jobs in the New Year. Mr Goldfield has made it clear that the decision is not open for negotiation, but he wants to discuss terms and conditions and other aspects of the transfer.

More than 300 union members at the docks have already staged two strikes, and notice has been given of a further three next week.

Each is planned to last 16 hours, starting at 3pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The port has continued to operate normally despite the strikes, and despite increases in traffic as cross-Channel Christmas shopping gets underway.

Mr Goldfield said the strikes had had no impact on ferry services.

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