KOCHI: The All India Port and Dock Workers Federation (AIPDWF) will launch a nationwide agitation against the inordinate delay in implementing the wage revision settlement. AIPDWF leaders urged the Indian Ports Association and the shipping ministry to expedite the process of the Bipartite Wage Negotiation Committee and conclude the settlement without any further delay to avoid labour unrest at major ports.“Port management in the country is showing a lethargic attitude towards a fair and reasonable revised wage settlement, which is due from January 1, 2017.
Though the Bipartite Wage Negotiation Committee constituted by the Government of India for a final settlement held six sittings in 14 months, no creative conclusion emerged on the demands raised by workers,” said AIPDWF national president P M Mohammed Haneef.“The federation strongly opposes the policy of the Indian Port Association and the Union Ministry of Shipping showing discrimination to Group C and D employees of the major port trusts. Since C and D employees are pivotal to the production and productivity of ports, they deserve a moderate approach from the administration,” he said.
The AIPDWF has also urged the government to frame a long-term port policy for the smooth and efficient management of ports in consultation with all stakeholders, including labourers.“Major ports are under the clutches of bureaucrats who don’t understand the problems of the port industry and its management. The government should also give autonomy to the major ports trust boards as envisaged in the MPT Act instead of replacing it in some other form to suit the convenience of multinationals,” he said.
“The government has moved the Major Port Authorities Bill in Parliament under the pretext of providing autonomy and freedom to major ports. The provision of the Bill will definitely curtail the freedom of major ports as an autonomous body and destroy the present structure of the port trust board,” he said. The three-day national conference of the AIPDWF will begin in Kochi on Tuesday.
Around 700 delegates from different ports will attend the event. Former Union Minister Vayalar Ravi will inaugurate the conference on Wednesday, while Kerala Women’s Commission chairperson M C Josephine will inaugurate the women’s conference being organised as part of the event.The inaugural session of the conference will be followed by a trade union conference, which will be inaugurated by Indian Ports Association chairman Sanjay Bhatia.