Functioning of port had been affected since Friday

The five-day lightning strike by dock workers, which had paralysed Beypore port, came to an end on Wednesday.

The trade unions representing the port’s workforce agreed to withdraw the strike after discussions at a meeting called by District Collector C.A. Latha. At the meeting, the local administration agreed to study the problems faced by labourers at the port and send a detailed report to the State government.

The stand-off between port officials and the 200-strong dock workforce had affected the functioning of the port since Friday last. More seriously, the entire coastal traffic to Lakshadweep islands from the port had come to a complete stop, with fuel drums lying stacked on the wharf and food and disposable items beginning to rot.

Port officials said the lightning strike was a blow to the port’s profile as a trade-friendly centre in Malabar fit for international maritime business and industry. Beypore handles over 90 per cent of the cargo among minor ports in the State.

The trigger

The workers said the immediate trigger for the strike was the presence of a Coast Guard craft docked at the wharf beside the dhows to Lakshadweep. The workers had alleged that crew members of the dhows were threatened of severe action if they so much as “touched” the Coast Guard vessel. The Coast Guard however denied the allegation, saying they had every right to berth their vessel at the port’s wharf.

They said any misunderstanding with the dhow crew was amicably resolved, and the workers had no role in it. The workers had also objected to the port officials’ decision to divert cranes for other work.

‘No notice’

The workers had claimed that they were met with a hostile response from the Senior Port Conservator’s office on Friday, leading to the strike.

The port officials said no notice was served on them about the strike, which caught them completely by surprise.

Stranded crew members of cargo vessels had complained of mounting losses due to the strike.

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