Water transport workers in Chattogram, Barishal, and Chandpur embarked on an indefinite strike from Sunday midnight to press home their 10-point demand, including fixing their minimum wage at Tk 20,000.
Loading and unloading of containers at the outer anchorage of Chattogram port remains mostly suspended due to the strike, Noujan Sramik Sangram Parishad Convener Shafikul Islam told The Business Post.
As the parishad announced to enforce the strike, workers at the port suspended the movement of lighterage vessels, and oil tankers used to unload containers from mother vessels anchored at the port’s outer dock from 12am.
Vice President of Bangladesh Lighterage Workers’ Union (BLWU) Nabi Alam said, “The indefinite strike was previously announced by the workers on November 15 to press home their 10-point of demand, including a minimum wage.
“The workers have stopped unloading of goods from midnight, and lighterage vessels movement from 18 private terminals in Majhirghat and Sadarghat areas came to a halt.”
Similar situation in Barishal, Chandpur
Water transport services on 18 routes from Barishal came to a standstill as water transport workers there embarked on the strike, causing woes to passengers.
Workers removed the launches from the Barishal terminal at 12 am Sunday, and movement of vessels including those of long routes remains suspended, according to Barishal water transport owners.
Meanwhile, freight vessels’ operations from Barishal also remain suspended due to the strike.
Master Ekin Ali, president of Noujan Sramik Sangram Parishad, said, “We will continue the strike until our demands are met.”
In Chandpur, the movement of 40 launches including 25 that ply on the Chandpur-Dhaka route remained suspended from Sunday morning.
Aside from fixing a minimum wage, other demands of the workers are – appointment letters, identity cards and service books, formation of a Contributory Provident Fund and Seafarer Welfare Fund for food and sea allowances, and Tk 10 lakh compensation for accident and death at work.
Besides, they are also seeking a relaxation of restrictions on the nighttime movement of sand-carrying bulkheads and dredgers, stopping terrorism, extortion and robbery on waterways, stopping harassment along the Indian border in providing landing passes to workers travelling India.
Workers want 100 per cent enforcement of goods transport policy at Chattogram port to force all lightering vessels to follow the serial, cancelling the lease at Charpara Ghat and stopping all irregularities and mismanagement by the Department of Shipping.