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Container lorry workers withdraw eight-day-old strike

Written by: Staff
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Kochi, Apr 3 (UNI) The strike by container lorry workers, which had paralysed the movement of cargo to and from Cochin Port for the past one week, was withdrawn with immediate effect this evening following a settlement brokered by the regional joint labour commissioner.

As per the settlement arrived at between the Container Lorry Owners Association and the agitating unions, the owners have agreed in principle to give a hike in wages to the workers, Cochin Port Trust Secretary Cyril C George, who was present at the talks, said.

The owners association will announce an interim relief on Thursday and the final settlement would be arrived at within 20 days.

The owners association also agreed to a payment of Rs 100 to the lorry drivers and Rs 50 to the cleaners in case their is a pre-stage wait of more than five hours, he said.

The management will also not take any ''vindictive action'' against the striking workers.

''We are satisfied with the agreement. The strike is being withdrawn with immediate effect,'' a spokesman for the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which was spearheading the strike, told UNI.

The strike had hampered year-end cargo traffic through Cochin Port and caused considerable hardship to the exim trade with exporters being forced to divert their cosignments to other ports, such as Chennai and Tuticorin, to meet their deadlines.

The Cochin Port handles nearly 1,500 in-bound and out-bound containers every day.

While five unions, including CITU, had pulled out of the strike on the condition that an agreement be reached by April 15, the BMS had refused to withdraw the agitation till an agreement was signed.

Regional Joint Labour Commissioner M T Narayanan mediated in the conciliatory talks.

UNI ARC VS1839

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