Staff Reporter

Trade unions at CPT cite several reasons for their decision

KOCHI: Container handling operations at India Gateway Terminals Limited (IGTL) at the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) has reverted to the old three-shift operations spanning 22-and-a-half hours, six days a week after workers at the terminal refused to work on the 24-hour, seven-day week schedule that was introduced by the CPT on July 1.

Trade unions cited several reasons for their decision that came into effect on Sunday.

The poor condition of prime movers at the terminal, protection of financial benefits of the employees and strict adherence to the eight-hour shift schedule were the major issues raised by the unions. An official of IGTL said the issues raised by the workers were being addressed. RGTL, the official said, inherited equipment from the CPT and that over the years, substantial improvement had been brought about on these equipment.

These equipment have been improved with feedback from workers, including the prime mover drivers, said the official.

There was a demand for better breaking facility for the trailers and it was being addressed, the official said. The official, however, said that RGTL could not assure employees of overtime payment for the work done on Sundays under the 24x7 schedule that was even now in effect in areas operated by the CPT.

Under the old system to which RGTL workers reverted, the terminal operations were limited to 21 hours a day with Sundays as the common off day, said the official.

The official was hopeful of bringing the 24x7 schedule at the earliest as it was important for offering better service to the customers.

On the issue of manning scale, the RGTL official said that deployment of workers would be in keeping with the operational requirement as there was no prescription on manning scale as of now.

A spokesman for Cochin Port Employees’ Organisation (CPEO), affiliated to the CITU, said here on Wednesday that workers had reverted to the old system after negotiations with the IGTL management failed.

He said the unions had served a notice for indefinite strike from September 1 but this was put off on a call from the Regional Joint Labour Commissioner.

A spokesman for Cochin Port Staff Association (CPSA) said the unions raised the issue of poor condition of the equipment, including prime movers, with the RGTL management but it did not appear interested in addressing the issue immediately.