Implement labour laws for New Mangalore Port Shipping Company Workers!

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Honourable Shipping Minister,

Please order NMPT to act as a watchdog to implement labour laws for Shipping Company Workers!

Dear Chairman of NMPT,

Ensure Implementation of Labour Laws for Workers working in activities related to the Port!

Shipping Company Managements,

Stop Violation of laws and Violation of Human Rights of your own workers!

Mangalore Port (NMPT) is one of the important pillars of growth and development of Mangaluru. Around 75% of export of Coffee, Timber and Cashew nuts are handled by Mangaluru Port. Cashew is brought via sea route, processed and sent back to their country of origin and thereby exploiting cheap labour available in Mangaluru and around. The NMPT proudly claims that Container traffic increased by 25 % last year. But, the same NMPT is shameless to say that they are not responsible for drivers, mechanics and operators who are spilling their sweat and blood to carry those containers. NMPT registered 11.72 percent growth in traffic handling in the first 6 months of 2017-18.  But, did they care for those actual handlers, who are employed by shipping companies in occupations like driving, repairing and maintenance of those traffic vehicles and handling equipment? This is the irony of so-called growth and development.

It is a growth and development of NMPT, shipping companies and their C&F Agents but the workers who are instrumental in this growth are left in the lurch; thrown to the dustbins. Not even paid minimum wages. Working for 12 / 24 hours but no Over Time (OT) wages. By accident, if the container falls on workers’ heads, if the workers becomes permanently disabled or dead, there is no mandatory ESI cover and their families are made orphans. Neither the companies nor NMPT is responsible. No PF, hence no pension. Republic Day – Port gates are shut and because of wage cut, these workers’ kitchen stove flames are also shut. 

No employer - Neither a Muslim employer nor a Hindu Employer - is willing to solve the plights of their own workers. Is that these workers are not Hindus or Muslims? There is no difference between them on exploiting workers. Even an Ex-Minister is not willing to provide legally due benefits to his employees.

Number of workers directly employed by Port Trusts across the country have drastically reduced because of anti-people policies of Liberalisation, Privatisation and Globalisation adopted by the central governments led by parties of all colours. In the wake of liberalisation, the operations and activities of the port which were hitherto carried out by employees directly employed by Major Ports are replaced by and are now actually carried out by workers engaged in Ports but employed by the shipping and stevedore companies and C&F Agents. Reduction in the number of directly employed workforce do not abolish jobs or operations that are necessary for the running of Ports but for creating a new section of workforce without any kind of security -- job security, wage security and social security.

One worker and union leader was dismissed by one company. Simple reason is that he was instrumental in forming the union and was the unit president. It is the same worker who spent around 20 years in the company and has worked day and night for the growth of the company and one fine morning he is just thrown out mercilessly. This is the level of inhuman relationship in the companies. He is told to run around labour departments and courts. We have seen British Raj. Any one who questioned, who challenged the powers that be were exiled, jailed and were taken to hanging table. It is almost a similar situation for workers of shipping companies in Mangaluru Port. It is nothing but a slavery but a Modern day Slavery! This is not a happening in any remote corner of the country or in any village but right under our nose, in Mangaluru, in NMPT, in the second most industrialised city in the state. The city of a tradition of humanism and liberal values. 

Neither the central labour authorities nor the previous DC were not able to do anything as the companies are the past masters in deceiving everyone with their money and muscle power that can employ lawyers to avoid implementation of any labour laws. NMPT, a central government owned organisation, is only proud about increasing traffic and cargo. They care a damn if the container related driver is dumped in the grave yard even. It is okay for them as long as the containers are up and running. 

Companies can violate law but there is no punishment. But, if workers form a union of their will and choice, they are being thrown out like flies and being crushed like bugs.

Over a period of few decades, this section of workers, whose wages, service and working conditions are not streamlined, have become overwhelming in numbers. The disparity in wages and service conditions between the same workforce engaged in same and similar kind of work is very huge which is beyond any imagination. The wages and service conditions of workers directly employed by Major Ports are governed by a plethora of legislation exclusively meant for them in addition to wage increases through periodic negotiations and tripartite agreements involving the government, Port Trusts and the workers unions. But, unfortunately, workers carrying out the same and similar kind of work in Major Ports and employed by Stevedores, C&F Agents, Shipping companies, etc., are given only peanuts. Only the jungle law prevails. This section of workers who are not yet exposed to the dawn and languishing in utter darkness are in huge numbers in NMPT.

Not only from the angle of human rights but also from the angle of principles of natural justice, it is totally unbecoming of any government to overlook such genuine facts. Workers operating Containers and other kind of vehicles are an integral component of Port operations as they are involved in transporting goods and cargo from ship to yard and to the end customers. But, they are not even protected for any accidents and are not even provided mandatory ESI.

We request competent authorities to intervene and fulfill demands of Shipping company workers, regulate their wages and service conditions through 3years negotiated agreement.

If wages and service conditions of these sections of workers are not streamlined any more, the port operations are bound to be affected. Issues of these workers centring around Ports and Docks have the potential of snowballing into a major social and political crisis.

We only request appropriate authorities to wake up to the call of rectifying historic injustice meted out to these workers immediately

Please Join Hands and Support our Struggle for Just and Genuine Demands!

Stand in Solidarity in the Struggle for Liberation from Modern Slavery!

 



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