Millennium Post

Nation’s port workers to go on indefinite strike from March 9

The national coordination committee of Port Workers Federation on Friday announced its decision to go on strike.

The strike has been called against the unilateral decision of the Shipping Ministry to corporatise the country’s major ports, a release by Transport and Dock Workers’ Union, Mumbai said.

The decision to this effect was taken during a Federation’s meeting held in Mumbai on January 28-29, 2015. “The ministry has taken the decision disregarding several assurances given to the Federation as well as the unanimous recommendations contained in the parliamentary standing committee’s 117th report, which was presented in the Rajya Sabha on 11 August, 2011,” core leader in Federation in Mumbai, S R Kulkarni said in a statement. The leaders stated that the present attempt of the ministry is not only detrimental to the interest of the port, dock workers and pensioners, but also against the sovereignty of the country at large.

They criticised the attitude of the ministry for not taking the workers into confidence while making radical changes in the organisational structure and the consequences arising out of it. Port authorities are blatantly violating statutes by not implementing several statutory settlements relating to serving employees and pensioners signed between Port management and the Federation before central authorities.

The union leaders alleged that the ministry has even initiated action to enforce decision on industrial relations policy in vogue, in recalcitrance to Major Ports agreement with the Federation, even disregarding the labour ministry’s guidelines and several court judgements. Meanwhile, Engineering company ITD Cementation on Friday said it has received Rs 2,168 crore order for carrying out the dredging and reclamation works for the 4th container terminal at the country’s largest port JNPT. The Mumbai-based company, which has been working at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust since 1994, was awarded the contract by Bharat Mumbai Container Terminals, a subsidiary of the port developer, PSA Singapore, ITD said in a statement.

This is the biggest single order win for the EPC company and takes its total order book up to Rs 6,800 crore. Reacting to the announcement, the company stock rose 15.43 percent to Rs 589 on the BSE, as against a 0.38 per cent slide in the 30-share Sensex in the afternoon trade.

After a controversial re-bid, PSA was awarded the Rs 8,000-crore contract to build the fourth terminal at JNPT earlier this month. The company is expected to deliver the phase-I of the project by 2018 and the concession period is valid for 30 years. The port has to have a draft of 16.5 meters, which will be ensured via the dredging works, while the marked area will also have to be reclaimed, a senior company official said.
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