Indian Dockworkers Shelve Nationwide Strike

The nationwide strike planned by Indian dockworkers for this week has been called off for the time being following preliminary talks between labor unions and the country’s Labor Ministry.

However, the strike option has not been ruled out altogether as unions only moved the strike for May 12 providing an initial time frame for a potential resolution of the issue as talks among the parties continue.

The unions were scheduled to meet with the Indian Ports Association (IPA) on April 21 to discuss potential solutions to the matter, according to the information from Japan International Freight Forwarders Association (JIFFA).

India’s labour unions, representing dockworkers employed at major ports, announced industrial action to voice their dissatisfaction against changes proposed in the Major Ports Authority Bill 2016 aimed at restructuring the country’s port system.

The workers are demanding job security in addition to protection of existing and retirement benefits.

The new bill allows leasing of land for port related use for up to 40 years, opening the door for the privatization of the country’s major ports employing up to 50,000 workers.

The move to decentralization comes as India endeavors to boost the competitiveness of its ports.

The ports likely to be affected by the strike are Kolkata, Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Kandla and Marmugao.

World Maritime News Staff

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