Ship workers have started an indefinite strike across the country with 10-point demands, including the construction of harbours for keeping lighter ships and other vessels in all seaports including Chattogram port, establishment of test centers in Chattogram, Khulna and Barisal, naval courts. As a result, the movement of almost all types of ships, including lighter ships, oil tankers engaged in unloading goods from large ships waiting at the outer anchorage of Chattogram port, is being disrupted.
Boat workers have stopped movement of goods from 17 ghats of Karnaphuli river and the mother vessel at outer anchorage since 12 pm on Saturday.
At least 1000 lighterage ships carry goods from Chattogram port and outer anchorage on sea routes across the country. The number of workers in these ships is about 30 thousand. Imported consumer goods, cement clinker and various open products are unloaded from the mother vessel or large ship at anchorage to the lighterage ship. Then the lighterage ships take those products to different destinations on the sea route.
Bangladesh Lighter Workers Union Vice President Md. Nabi Alam confirmed this information on Sunday morning. He said that this indefinite strike was announced on November 15 with 10 points of demand. Therefore, ordinary workers have stopped unloading goods from large ships anchored outside the port since midnight. At the same time, 18 private wharves in Mazhirghat and Sadarghat area have also stopped unloading goods by lighter ships.
According to port sources, 32 of the 52 mother vessels stationed at Chattogram Port's outer anchorage were scheduled to release goods. But the ships are sitting idle as the workers stop work from 12 midnight.
There are many lighterage ships and oil tankers sitting in Karnaphuli river.
Chattogram Port Authority Secretary Md. Omar Faruq said that the problem will be resolved through discussions with the workers.
Setting a minimum wage of Tk 20,000 for workers along with providing appointment letter, identity card and service book to ship workers, setting up Contributory Provident Fund and Sailor Welfare Fund to ensure social security of food allowance and sea allowance, setting compensation of Tk 10 lakh for accident and death in work from Chattogram.
Stopping ongoing activities in the implementation of projects against the country's interest in fuel oil supply through pipelines, relaxation of dumping restrictions on night movement of sand-bearing bulkheads and dredgers, stopping terrorism, extortion and robbery on waterways, stopping all kinds of harassment on the Indian border including giving landing passes to workers going to India, from Chattogram port. Compelling all lighter ships to move serially by fully enforcing the cargo transport policy, cancelling the lease at Charpara Ghat and stopping all types of irregularities and mismanagement of the Department of Shipping.
Earlier, the lighter ship workers had announced the suspension of goods transportation activities in lighter ships in Chattogram from 6 am on November 10, demanding five points, including cancelling the lease of the Charpara ghat used for the departure and arrival of the lighter ship workers, digging the mouth of the Sangu river and providing a safe harbour for the lighter ships.
Later, the process of cancelling the lease of Charpara ghat, which is used for the transportation of lighter ship workers in Patenga, and the decision not to take money from the workers at the ghat, the lighter ship workers called off the strike and returned to work.