Water transport workers go on indefinite strike

A countrywide indefinite strike enforced by water transport workers has caused immense sufferings to people. Under the banner of Bangladesh Water Transport Workers’ Federation, the water transport workers started the nationwide indefinite strike from Friday night to press home their 11-point demand, including implementation of the pay scale of 2016.
The workers’ demands also include providing risk allowance, issuing identity cards and service books to workers, stopping extortion, ensuring clean water and food for them and providing a compensation of Tk 10 lakh to a worker in case of his death while on duty.
Following the strike, the workers suspended the movement of all types of passenger and goods-laden vessels from Sadarghat, Khulna, Barishal, Monga, Chandpur ports and other launch terminals.
Following the strike, operation of all types of water vessels on all the country’s routes including Dhaka, Barishal and other divisional cities remained suspended since Friday midnight.
According to our district correspondents: hundreds of different destination-bound passengers gathered at their respective terminals across the country.
On failing to get water vessels, they were compelled to choose alternative options. Many people were seen crossing the river with alternative ways like trawler and speed boat taking risk and paying double fare.
Meanwhile, six launches left from Sadarghat for Chandpur, Damudya and Shariatpur at the initiative of the vessel owners.
In Khulna, operation of lighterage vessels remained suspended at Mongla and Khulna ports since Friday midnight.
Mongla Port Authority harbour master, commander Sheikh Fakhar Uddin said that movement of lighterage, cargo, barge, oil tanker and coasters was suspended as all workers had joined the strike.
No vessel left Mongla for Jashore’s Noapara while over 700 vessels were seen anchored at the ports.
Khulna Zilla Water Transport Workers’ Federation general secretary Delwar Hossain said workers abstained from unloading and carrying goods from local and foreign vessels, adding, they would continue the strike until their demands are met.
In Chattogram, loading and unloading of imported goods to and from lighter vessels at 16 private jetties in the city’s Sadarghat and Majhirghat area remained suspended since Saturday morning due to the work abstention of water transport workers.
In addition, the price of essentials has risen due to the abstention of water transport workers. The traders show that they are facing difficulties in loading and unloading their goods. On this plea, the traders have increased from Tk 5 to Tk 10 per kilogram of different vegetables including potato, onion and others.