For eight days in late August, the Port of Felixstowe — usually a scene of constant motion as Britain’s busiest container shipping dock — was almost devoid of activity, with few goods coming in or out. For the first time in more than three decades, its workers were on strike.

The walkout escalated the workers’ eight-month pay dispute with the port and CK Hutchison, its Hong Kong-based parent company. But it is just one of dozens of strikes that have swept Britain this summer, with more probably coming in the months ahead.

Demands for better pay in the face of soaring inflation — at 10.1 percent, the highest rate in 40 years — and a coming 80 percent jump in energy bills have led hundreds of thousands of people in Britain to walk off their jobs, bringing a halt to train services, trash collection and port shipments around the country.

Job actions are not unusual in Britain, but the country hasn’t seen this kind of explosion of industrial action, in so many walks of life, in decades. It’s occurring amid a political vacuum, as the government, led by the Conservative Party, is holding a contest to succeed Boris Johnson as prime minister.

“Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you!” chanted the workers gathered on a traffic roundabout opposite the giant port’s entrance. They were led by Sharon Graham, the head of Unite, one of the biggest unions in the country, with more than a million members. She has been crisscrossing the country, joining negotiations and visiting picket lines.

Here in Felixstowe, the union and its members are seeking a pay raise of 10 percent, a jump that seemed high earlier in the year when it was first proposed. But by the end of the year, when the Bank of England projects inflation will reach 13 percent, that demand will represent a pay cut in buying power.

The strikers argue that the company’s multimillion-pound profit last year showed that it could afford to raise wages for workers who feel undervalued after working through the pandemic.

“What we are asking for is a very small percentage of that profit,” said Phil Pemberton, who has been a union leader at the port for the past 14 years. As the workers who helped generate that profit, “we’re looking for a pay rise that we believe we deserve,” he added.

There are few signs of imminent de-escalation. Rail workers across the country, as well as bus drivers, call center employees and criminal defense lawyers in England and Wales, are among those who have gone on strike in recent months over both new concerns about rising prices and long-running complaints about pay and management. They are about to be joined by dockworkers in Liverpool and staff at nurseries and primary schools in Glasgow.

This growing unrest, alongside a probable recession, will greet the next prime minister, scheduled to be announced on Monday; the choice is expected to be the current foreign secretary, Liz Truss

In response to the strike, Hutchison Ports, a unit of CK Hutchison, has said it provides well-paid secure jobs and maintains that it is offering an increase in pay that is near the union’s demands. The company has also accused Unite of “promoting a national agenda” that is leaving its workers worse off. Logistics UK, a trade group, said disruption from the strike was minimal, as companies were able to move supplies in advance and Felixstowe tends not to be used for “just in time” supply chains.