Meeting with owners ends in stalemate
Indefinite countrywide strike of river transport workers continued on Thursday, although over 50 launches left Sadarghat terminal, while a meeting between government officials and water vessel owners ended without any solution.
The meeting that was convened aiming to end the ongoing deadlock in waterways transport ended without any solution on Thursday afternoon.
Operation of passenger and goods carrier vessels in many places remained suspended since Tuesday midnight, as water transport workers went on an indefinite work abstention to realise their 15-point demand that includes minimum wage of Tk 10,000.
Currently, the minimum wage of a worker is Tk 3,900.
The resultant disruption to cargo handling at Chittagong and Mongla sea ports caused huge losses to exporters and importers and the government’s revenue earning.
New Age correspondent in Chittagong reported that transportation of export-bound and imported cargoes between Chittagong port and the rest of the country was suspended for the third day on Thursday.
Huge numbers of vessels, including oil tankers, fishing and cargo vessels were moored at 16 pontoons along the Karnaphuli and other rivers flowing across Chittagong.
In Khulna, no loading and unloading took place at Mongla sea port in the last three days and the workers brought out processions demanding fulfillment of their demands.
New Age correspondent in Barisal reported that passengers chose to take the ride aboard the risky water transports, plying on danger zone of Meghna estuary and the coastal route, defying the ban due to water transport strike.
New Age correspondents in Bhola and Chandpur reported that no passenger and cargo vessel plied to and from the terminals.
Officials of the Department of Labour sat with vessel owners at its conference room to discuss the issue.
After the meeting, the director of the Department of Labour SM Ashrafauzzaman told reporters that they will separately sit with workers again to solve the problem.
Earlier on Wednesday night, officials of the Department of Labour convened a meeting with the workers and owners to discuss the issue. But the meeting bore no fruit as owners skipped it, saying that they would not sit with workers.
Nou Sramik Sangram Parishad convener Bulbul Ahmed told New Age that they would continue their indefinite countrywide strike until their demands for wage hike are met.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority joint director (traffic) Jainal Abedin said that launches arrived at Sadarghat throughout on Thursday like any normal day.
Source: New Age