Port workers plan strike against move to repeal Act

V. Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on May 21, 2017

The Water Transport Workers' Federation of India intends to go on a nation-wide strike in major ports shortly against the Shipping Ministry's move to repeal the Major Port Trust Act, 1963, and to facilitate this with the Major Port Authority Bill, 2016.

As a prelude to the strike, WTWFI – one of the five major federations of port and dock workers -- decided to organise a 48-hour Sathyagraha in Willingdon Island on May 23 to 25, highlighting that the proposed Port Authority Bill would be detrimental to port and dock workers.

C.D. Nandakumar, president of the federation, alleged that the proposed enactment of the Bill is a deliberate attempt to convert major ports into an authority and later make it companies before privatising. The federation’s assessment was that the land bank worth 1.25 lakh acres in major ports would be the main attraction for corporates and MNCs investing in the port sector.

The new Bill, according to WTWFI, has totally neglected the interests of labour, although workers are the main stakeholders in port operations. The Bill stipulates a single labour nominee against the two at present. Moreover, the labour nominee's appointment would be carried out through a notification from amongst persons, who in the opinion of the Government, are capable of representing the interests of the employee.

From this, it is clear that the government’s intention is to make the voice of labour feeble and to nominate a worker as per its political choice, he said.

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Published on May 21, 2017
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