Water transport workers’ strike: Ctg port authority chairman meets leaders

Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad met water transport workers’ leaders in the city this afternoon as cargo handling at the port’s outer anchorage remained suspended for last three days due to work abstention of the latter.

The emergency meeting began at the CPA board room at 3:30pm, said CPA Secretary Md Omar Faruk.

A section of leaders of Bangladesh Noujan Sramik Federation, Bangladesh Lighterage Sramik Union Chattogram, Bangladesh Cargo Vessel Owners Association and Inland Cargo Vessel Owners Association joined the meeting, he said.

The work abstention was enforced jointly by Bangladesh Noujan Sramik Federation and Bangladesh Lighterage Sramik Union since October 20 midnight to press home their 11-point demands.

Unloading of imported cargo from bigger vessels at the outer anchorage at Chattogram and Mongla Ports and transport of these cargo on lighter vessels through inland water routes remained suspended for the strike.

As of today, around 42 cargo vessels with 10 lakh tonnes of import goods including food grains, edible oil and industrial raw materials are stuck at the Chattogram port, according to the port sources.

Besides over 900 lighter vessels loaded with 12 lakh tonnes of such goods got stranded at 38 different private docks across the country, they said.

The workers said they would not resume work until their demands for food allowances, sea allowances, appointment letters, identity cards and several other benefits are met.

Meanwhile, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said the ongoing strike of water transport workers will be resolved by today.

“Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) and the Department of Shipping have been discussing with water transport owners and workers. Discussions are on. It will be resolved by today,” he told reporters at his office at the Secretariat this afternoon.

The state minister said workers’ demand for food allowance is justified, there is no doubt about it. Vessel workers had gone on strike earlier and that was solved through discussion and issues of this time will also be solved through discussion with both owners and workers, he added.

Meanwhile, a leader of transport workers said BIWTA Chairman and Director General of Shipping were holding separate meetings with owners and workers this evening. But owners were not ready to accept their demands, he said wishing not to be named.

READ MORE: Lighter Vessel Strike: Importers stare at huge losses

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