Container lorry workers withdraw eight-day strike
Kochi, Apr 3 (UNI) The strike by container lorry workers, which paralysed the movement of cargo to and from Cochin Port for the past week, was withdrawn with immediate effect this evening following a settlement brokered by the Regional Joint Labour Commissioner.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 agreed in principle to a hike in the wages of the workers, Cochin Port Trust Secretary Cyril C George, who was present at the talks, said.
The owners association would announce interim relief on Thursday and the final settlement would be arrived at within 20 days.
The owners association also agreed payment of Rs 100 to lorry drivers and Rs 50 to cleaners in case there was a pre-stage wait of over five hours, he said.
The management would 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 The strike is being withdrawn with immediate effect,'' a spokesman for the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which was spearheading the strike, told UNI.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 exim trade with exporters being forced to divert consignments 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.
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