Water Transport Workers' Federation of India has appealed to the Central Government to resume the Sethusamudram Canal project work without further delay.

According to a draft resolution passed at the summit of the two-day eighth National Conference of WTWFI here on Friday, the delegates demanded full autonomy for the functioning of Port Trust Boards and expressed their resolve against privatisation of major ports.

As per recommendations of RK Jain committee, 17, 262 vacancies remain as on September 1, 2007. The committee had also advised the Ministry of Shipping in this regard but the government did not take a decision.

The federation would also appeal to the Ministry of Shipping to update the basic infrastructure in all major ports immediately using its own resources instead of inviting tenders on a public-private partnership mode or build-operate-transfer method.

Anomalies arising out of the settlement dated January 19, 2010 and unsettled issues especially the new pay scale for the promoted cadre should be rectified. The issue was also brought to the notice of Chief Labour Commissioner.

The merger of Cargo Handling Labour Pool with Tuticorin Port Trust and Kolkata Dock Labour Board with Kolkata Port Trust was also stressed during the programme. All contract workers engaged in and around the port area should be entitled to get class IV pay benefits.

Secret ballot system should be implemented in all major ports uniformly for deciding the recognition of Trade Unions. When the Port users bring outsiders, employment opportunities of the cargo handling workers were taken away forcibly by stevedores and port users. Therefore the Ministry and Port Management should check it and disallow such practices.

Fifty per cent of casual service of employees from January 1, 1968 should be calculated for retirement benefits of Port and Dock workers. Moreover, the appointment on compassion grounds for legal heirs of deceased and medically invalidated employees of Port and Dock should be made.

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