Logistics

Tuticorin cargo handling labour pool merged with VOC Port Trust

T. E. Raja Simhan Chennai | Updated on July 28, 2011 Published on July 28, 2011

Mr A. Subbiah

The Tuticorin Port Trust Cargo Handling Labour Pool (CHLP) has been merged with the V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust. This will lead to a 30 per cent reduction in labour cost (as the gang size will come down) and nearly 50 per cent increase in productivity, according to Mr A. Subbiah, Chairman, VOC Port Trust.

As per the merger agreed on Wednesday, 993 employees of the CHLP will become employees of the port trust. This brings to an end a 30-year old demand of the workers for the merger.

The port trust management will also pay pension to 972 retired employees of CHLP, which is a body of cargo handling labourers administered by the VOC port trust but were not employees. Some of the CHLP categories include administrative, on board supervisor, tally clerk and ‘maistry,' said Mr Subbiah.

At a conciliation meeting held on Wednesday conducted by Mr M. M. Jagannadha Rao, Regional Labour Commissioner (Central), Chennai, an accord for the merger was reached between the management of VO C Port Trust, the unions representing cargo handling workers and employees and Tuticorin Stevedores' Association, he said.

The CHLP came into being on January 1, 2000. Despite extension of various benefits to workmen of the CHLP, they were not treated as port employees. The unions representing cargo handling workers were frequently agitating for the merger of the CHLP with the port trust.

Implication

Mr Subbiah said negotiation with the union has been going on for the last four years on the merger. Through the merger, the manning scale has been fixed as per the National Tribunal Award, which has given a reduction in the gang size by nearly 30 per cent. This will in turn lead to a reduction in labour cost by nearly 30 per cent, he said.

There are 83 different types of cargoes handled at the VOC port, and each cargo has different gang size. For instance, for handling cashew nut, the gang size is 16, and will be reduced to 10 members following the merger. There is similar reduction in gang size across all cargoes, he said.

The trade off for the reduction will be increase in incentive of 23 per cent to the labour pool even as the workers have agreed to increase productivity by nearly 50 per cent.

Financial

For the port trust, there will not be any additional financial outgo due to the merger, as these employees were drawing the same salary before the merger. However, the significant issue for the workers is that they become government employees giving them social security, said Mr Subbiah.

Published on July 28, 2011
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