The Sailing Vessel Agents and Shipment Contractors Welfare Association has said that passenger ships will stop visiting Beypore port because of the steep increase in wages demanded by headload workers belonging to various trade unions.

The association appealed to the State government to intervene immediately to resolve the dispute. At a press conference here on Tuesday, association president T.P. Mohammed Ali said headload workers at the port loyal to the INTUC, the CITU and the STU had recently demanded and obtained fees that were 60 per cent in excess of what had been approved by the Port Officer for loading luggage of passengers who were to travel by mv Ameni island.

“If headload workers insist on such a steep hike in wages, passenger vessels could stop visiting Beypore port. Other activities at the port would also be shifted to other ports,'' Mr. Ali said.

Headload workers had, recently, issued a notice demanding 80 per cent increase in wages. The association wanted the existing wages, which had come into effect on September 1, 2008, to be continued for one more year since the State government had jacked up the charges for using cranes at the port.

When unions rejected this demand, the association offered a 17 per cent increase. But the unions insisted on at least 50 per cent wage increase. The matter was raised before the Labour Officer. However, the headload workers obtained 60 per cent increase for loading luggage on to ships though the dispute was pending before the Labour Officer.

“If this aggressive tactics continued, ships would skip Beypore,'' the association president said.

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