Strike at container terminal: talks to continue

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Talks between labour unions at the Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal of the Cochin Port Trust and officials of India Gateway Terminals Ltd. (IGTL), which operates the terminal, were inconclusive on Monday. The talks are scheduled to continue on Friday, said Regional Labour Commissioner K.P. Sashidhar, in whose presence the discussions were held. Friday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.

C. Unnikrishnan, Deputy Secretary, and Vipin Menoth, Additional Traffic Manager, represented the trust at the meeting. Frank Carter, terminal manager, and Rajiv Panikker, head of human resources, represented the IGTL.

C.D. Nandakumar of the Cochin Port Employees’ Organisation; Mohammed Haneef of the Cochin Port Staff Association; Babu Alex Joseph of the Cochin Port Wharf Staff Association; B. Hamsa Koya of the Cochin Thuramugha Thozhilali Union (harbour workers’ union); T.M. Abu of the All-India Trade Union Congress; M. Jamal Kunju of the Indian National Trade Union Congress; and Krishna Kumar of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh were among those who participated in the meeting.

The meeting was convened in the wake of a flash strike on Wednesday by a section of the employees at the container terminal. Container movement was halted for about two days owing to the strike. This prompted the terminal operator to write to the port trust management complaining about frequent work disruptions and the poor business atmosphere hampering the terminal operations.

Dubai Ports World, holding company of IGTL, told the trust in the letter that a significant number of workdays were being lost because of strikes. These incidents had delayed work on the proposed international container transhipment terminal at Vallarpadam, the trust was told.

Trust chairman N. Ramachandran met Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan in Kochi on Friday to discuss the issues raised by DP World and the Chief Minister is learnt to have assured the trust that these questions would be addressed.

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