Bosses at the Port of Felixstowe have decided to implement their pay offer despite reaching no agreement with union leaders.

In a letter seen by this newspaper, members of Unite were told all avenues have been "exhausted" and that the bargaining process is "now closed without an agreement".

The letter follows eight days of strike action which saw hundreds of workers gather each day outside Dock Gate One while the port remained at a standstill.

Members of the staff branch accepted the last offer of 7% plus £500 but bosses argue Unite refused to put this increase to hourly-paid branch members.

The letter, which was signed off by the port's chief operating officer Robert Ashton, said: "Unite informed the company they were only prepared to recommend a deal which was higher than their previous position in August.

"It is therefore deeply disappointing that not only has Unite failed to move forwards, it has actually gone backward.

"Given that your colleagues in the staff branch have voted to accept the company's pay offer, the company has decided it is best we implement the 7% plus £500 in order to have a closure to this matter and move forward."

The letter added: "We are mindful that a lot of our employees have suffered financial hardship due to the unnecessary eight days strike. In addition, with the energy price cap increasing in October we are aware that a lot of our employees are desperate for the backdated payment to January 2022 to assist with their household cash flow."

The port says it "believes in constructive collective bargaining on wages and we confirm that we will commence negotiations on the 2023 pay award early next year".

Last month, Unite members voted in favour of industrial action by a majority of 92% as part of a pay dispute, with the union holding out for a 10% pay increase.

A spokesman for the Port of Felixstowe said: “The pay negotiations have been going on all year.

"The collective bargaining process has been exhausted and there is no prospect of agreement being reached with the union.

"It is not fair on our employees to prolong this any further.”

Unite national officer Robert Morton said: “Unite is surveying our members at the Port of Felixstowe to determine which course of action they wish to take next. We will be making no further comment at this time.”