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Saturday, May 15, 2010
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Seek mercy, lift strike by today

Minister asks river vessel workers; normalcy returning

Movement of vessels on all routes became almost normal while loading and unloading of goods in Mongla and Chittagong seaports remained mostly suspended yesterday, the seventh day of indefinite water transport strike.

Meantime, Shipping Minster Shahjahan Khan extended the government ultimatum for transport workers to resume work by 24 hours, provided they plead for mercy.

The workers, who had not joined work within the Friday deadline, can do so by 5:00pm today only after making a plea for mercy. Otherwise, legal action will be taken against them, the minister said at a press briefing.

He also warned that the workers' certificates of competency would be cancelled or suspended in line with the Inland Shipping Ordinance, 1976, if they do not resume work by the deadline.

Shahjahan said show cause notices would be issued to the workers, who went on strike. If they fail to show proper reason for abandoning work in 72 hours after issuance of the notices, their certificates of competency would be cancelled or suspended.

He said Navy personnel and coastguards had been keeping guard over oil tankers at Chittagong port to ward off any subversive attempt.

The minister termed the strike a deep conspiracy by a group of workers. It hampered economic activities and caused untold sufferings to people. But the government foiled the conspiracy, he said.

Shahjahan also ruled out any possibility of negotiation with the federation leaders until withdrawal of the strike.

Rear Admiral (retd) Bazlur Rahman, director general of Department of Shipping, said they had received reports that 51 water transport workers abandoned vessels until last night.

Meanwhile, leaders and activists of Bangladesh Noujan Sramik Federation remained firm on their decision to continue the strike.

Federation Vice President Zinnat Ali Master said they would continue the strike until unconditional release of its leaders and activists, and announcement of a new wage structure for water transport workers.

Of 30 launches, 20 left Sadarghat terminal and 22 anchored there yesterday, said officials at senior deputy director's (traffic) office at Sadarghat.

Our Chittagong correspondent reports: 25 mother vessels remained idle at the Chittagong port's outer anchorage while over 100 lighter vessels were stranded at several jetties there.

Our Khulna correspondent adds: The strike had completely paralysed the port. Six foreign vessels had been lying idle at Mongla port while over 200 vessels remained stranded there.

The federation called the countrywide strike on May 8 rejecting the new wage structure for transport workers. The wages of water transport workers were raised by 50-100 percent and their minimum wage was fixed at Tk 2,850.

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you cant force people like that, suppresion of opposition.


Funny race of of nerve between the old and current labor leaders. Ultimetum and condition are contrdictory.

We are surprised that the govt. does not any prudent person with good record of negotiation skill who can help to arrive a peaceful solution to this strike..

The minister is working from a wrong direction and has lost his skill to solve the problem. He should leave the work to a higher negotiating team.

: faqru usa


  • shakib
    Saturday, May 15, 2010 10:16 AM GMT+06:00 (299 weeks ago)

    When RMG factories are lit up the government comes on the side of the owners blaming a few politically motivated sectors in sabotaging our only income generating industry. When the shipping labourers go on strike over wage increase the govt issues ultimatum not to the shipping owners but to those who have nothing much to lose to begin with. ofcourse the govt is losing big when airline fuel price sky rockets but the ordinary person still pays an arm and a leg to run their generators or irrigation pumps. for them no amount of ultimatum will work. i support the nonviolent disobidience by the labourers, anywhere, because this is the only way they can bear the weight of their pressing problems to bear on the deaf ears of oligarchs. instead of brow beating the workers the owners and govt should start taking a cut on thier own salaries.





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