Approximately 20,000 longshoremen and over a million pensioners from major ports in India will go on a one-day symbolic strike on October 26. They are demanding an immediate change in wage structure, pension benefits, and other working conditions. T. Narendra Rao, deputy general chairman of the National Coordination Committee of Major Port Workers’ Associations, expressed concerns over the delay in settling the wage revision, which was supposed to be implemented from January 1. The demands also include revising wages and pension benefits for employees in groups “C” and “D” and implementing legal settlements and court orders.
Rao claimed that the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways established a wage bargaining committee in June 2021 and instructed major port authorities to resolve the matter within six months. However, the port authority allegedly denied the employees their rightful wage increase by misinterpreting the port’s performance and ability to pay. The number of regular employees in major ports has significantly decreased, while the cargo handled has increased over the years, resulting in a higher net surplus.
Despite the formation of the wage bargaining committee, only four meetings have taken place without any signs of reaching an agreement. The August meeting, which was scheduled to take place in New Delhi, was canceled without announcing a new date. In addition to the strike, the workers plan to wear black badges from October 17 to 19 during the Global Maritime India Summit organized by the government in Mumbai.