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Kochi, Oct. 17

THE Cochin Port Staff Association (CPSA), having representation in all categories of port including the container terminal, has called for an indefinite strike against the non-appointment of Labour Trustees in the Port Trust Board.

The posts of the Labour Trustees in the board for the terms 2004-06 was not filled due to a case filed by another union demanding secret ballot against the present check off system.

The Kerala High Court had dismissed the case, which was ultimately reaffirmed by the Supreme Court. At present there is no legal hurdle for the appointment of Labour Trustees in the port, Mr P. Padmanabhan, General Secretary of the Union, said.

He said that the term of the present board is up to March 31, 2006. However, the demand of the union to nominate its representative on the board for the remaining period was not considered favourably by the management, he alleged.

As a prelude to the strike the union conducted a mass dharna in front of the Administrative Office on Monday while the meeting of the board was on. The members of the union, who participated in the dharna, covered their mouth with black cloth.

Mr P. M. Mohammed Haneef, Working President of the Association and General Secretary of the All-India Port and Dock Workers Federation, inaugurated the dharna.

According to Mr Padmanabhan, the representative of the CPSA is on the board since its constitution as a Port Trust as per the Major Port Trust Act 1964. As per the provisions of the Port Trust Act, the board should have no less than two representatives of the labour. Conducting board meetings without adhering to the provisions of the statute is illegal as the present board did not represent labour interest, he said.

He pointed out that the CPSA had secured more than 55 per cent of representation of the class III and IV workers of the port during the check off conducted by the port as on January 31, 2004.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 18, 2005)
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