Port unions join strike, 75,000 tonnes of cargo left unhandled
Express News Service
Ahmedabad, December 14: The nationwide strike observed by Central Government employees on Thursday crippled functioning of banks and offices of central agencies in the State with cargo movement at Kandla and clearing house operations suffering the most as clearing of cheques worth Rs 1,500 crore in the State and 75,000 tonnes of cargo handling could not take place. Interestingly, attendance was low at demonstrations called by the unions due to the ongoing marriage season. Meanwhile, railway officials said that train movement was not impacted.
Even as the State Bank group and Indian Overseas Bank as well as co-operative banks along with ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank did not participate in the strike, clearing house transaction involving instruments worth Rs 1,500 crore could not take place due to the strike, claimed Mahagujarat Bank Employees Association, an affiliate of All India Bank Employees Association.
Association General Secretary Dushyant Trivedi said that more than 56 trade unions of 50 banks responded to the strike call with around 25,000 employees staying off duty on Thursday to press for rethink on the Centre’s economic policy which allegedly tilted in favour of privatisation and globalisation at the cost of domestic economy.
‘‘This strike was to register protest against development sans employment generation and outsourcing in public sector undertakings’’, he said. He clarified that the All India Bank Officers Association did not join the strike this time.
In Ahmedabad, nearly 1,500 central government staff at LIC Building on Relief Road and around 500 at Income Tax junction held demonstration and raised slogans like ‘‘Ladenge to jeetenge” (if we fight, we will win), he said.
He admitted the attendance at these demonstrations was below expectation because of the ongoing marriage season.
Also joining in the strike were employees of Central Warehousing Corporation, FCI, NABARD, post offices, PSU petrol pumps, BSNL, LIC, airport staff and Accountant General’s office.
Meanwhile at Kandla Port Trust (KPT), the two Kandla Port workers unions joined the strike.
The strike at KPT was total with no loading and unloading of cargo or movement of ships.
All the 12 ships berthed prior to beginning of the strike remained idle at the dry cargo jetties as no workers came forward to handle the same.
Manohar Bellani, KPT’s senior labour trustee said that as a result of the port strike, the port could not handle 75,000 tonne of cargo in one day.