The decision by port and dock workers to go on an indefinite strike from March 9, protesting corporatisation of ports, has been postponed by a week. Following a meeting called by the chief labour commissioner (CLC) here, the strike has been tentatively postponed to March 16. In the intervening period, three additional meetings are scheduled. “On March 9, a meeting is scheduled with the Indian Ports Association; on March 12 with the shipping secretary; and, on March 13 with the CLC,” said S R Apraj, general-secretary, Mumbai Port Trust. If the negotiations are fruitful, there will be no strike on March 16, he added.
The five major federations of the 12 major ports of the country, which had called for the strike, are: All India Port & Dock Workers’ Federation; All India Port & Dock Workers’ Federation; Port, Water Transport Workers’ Federation of India; Dock and Waterfront Workers’ Federation; and Indian National Port & Dock Workers’ Federation.
Corporatisation of ports, a long-pending step to turn 12 major port trusts into companies, were considered before as well. However, port and dock workers, resisted this on various counts, citing the move was against the interest of ports as well as workers.