Kochi port unions plan strike, demand job security for pvt workers

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on February 27, 2011 Published on February 24, 2011

The Trade Union Coordination Committee is planning another round of agitation at Kochi port from March 10 highlighting various demands which include continued operation of Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal for coastal cargoes and job protection for private labourers engaged in various container related activities in the Willingdon Island.

The committee has served a fresh strike notice to the port management and the movement of cargo is likely to be disrupted.

Job loss

A press statement issued by the committee pointed out that the workers belonging to various private pools in the Willingdon Island, engaged in stuffing and destuffing operations, had lost their jobs when the container terminal operations shifted to Vallarpadam following the commencement of operations at the International Container Transhipment Terminal there.

They pointed out that the labourers, who had worked with the port for 28 years, had lost their jobs soon after the commencement of operations at Vallarpadam.

The shifting of operations has left several private labourers, especially those carrying out lashing and unlashing of containers on board ships, jobless. Currently, these jobs are carried out by the private contractor appointed by the terminal operator at Vallarpadam.

Cargo hub

Besides job protection, the trade unions want to make Kochi port a domestic cargo hub with the commencement of operations at Vallarpadam.

A trade union leader pointed out that for the lashing and unlashing jobs, the workers are drawn from USA Pool earlier and these workers received the same rate of pay as the workers under the Port Trust.

Though the contractor, appointed by the terminal operator for the work, had agreed to take some of the workers for the job, the workers are not agreeable for reduction of wage rate.

Lashing procedure

At the port of loading, containers loaded onto a ship are secured to prevent slippage and toppling consequent to ship's movement during voyage.

This is done by securing containers to fixed parts of the ship through several methods and use of lashing devices such as sliding cones, twist locks, lashing wire or rods and turnbuckle.

This process is known as lashing. It is done to protect cargo from damage and to ensure safety of the ship during voyage. Before unloading containers from ship at port of destination, these lashing devices are removed. This process is known as unlashing. As lashing / unlashing is done on board ship, the goods are under the custody of the carrier and not of the operator of the port.

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Published on February 24, 2011
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