Staff Reporter

12 members on a tug instead of 19

No retrenchment on account of e-project

KOCHI: Long-standing differences between Cochin Port Trust management and trade unions over implementation of a Central Industrial Tribunal award on manning scales and operationalisation of a project for total electronic networking of port operations were resolved here on Monday with the two sides signing two memoranda of understanding on a way out of their disagreements.

Employees in the marine wing of the port went on a strike against the new manning scales even as the port authority said it was ready to address any of their grievances.

It took a round of discussion, lasting most of Sunday and better part of Monday for the two sides to sign the memoranda of understanding that immediately ends a relay hunger strike by trade union leaders and non-cooperation by the workers on the electronics port programme.

Based on the discussions it has been agreed to deploy 12 crew members against the present 19 on tugs. On mooring operations, a crew of seven will be posted and six on pilot boats, said a statement from the Cochin Port Trust here. This brings to a close the agitation by the employees, the statement said.

The apprehensions of the trade unions regarding the implementation of the e-port project too have been allayed through the discussions on Monday. The port management has agreed that there would be no retrenchment of employees on account of the project.

No service benefits, including promotional benefits being enjoyed by the employees would be curtailed due to the implementation of the e-port project. The management also agreed to discuss with the unions any move on centralisation of sections or their abolition.

In turn, the unions have agreed to cooperate fully with the port management on implementation of the e-port project.

One of the senior leaders of Kochi Thuramugha Samrakshana Samithi said that the discussions reached a satisfactory end as far as the trade unions are concerned and that the protest actions by the unions were being withdrawn now.

Convenor of the samithi P. M. Mohammed Haneef of Cochin Port Staff Association and C. D. Nandakumar of Cochin Port Employees’ Organisation were among those who participated in the negotiations with the port management over the last two days.