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Workers’ protest hits cargo operations in Paradip port

Operations in Paradip port were affected on Friday after hundreds of workers engaged with various stevedoring agencies staged protest against illegal transfer of some of their men who were demanding eight hours of work.The agitating workers sat on a dharna in the prohibited area of the port and demanded revocation of the transfer order. Protests will be intensified if the demand was not met, they threatened. Sources said loading and unloading of cargo on vessels, including transportation, were severely affected in the port due to the strike. 

As per reports, nearly 2,500 workers of stevedoring agencies have been pressed into service for cargo operation in Paradip port. Most of the workers are working for 16 to 18 hours at a stretch which is unsafe as per Industrial law. Earlier, they had demanded eight-hour work a day. However, their demands were ignored.On January 8, the workers had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shipping Ministry, Chairman of Paradip Port Trust (PPT), Jagatsinghpur Collector and SP besides the Labour Commissioner to consider their demands and provide a safe working atmosphere to them.

After their demands went unheard, the workers had staged a dharna on January 17. Fifteen workers who were leading the protests were transferred to Lanjigarh in Jharsuguda district  by the authority of Odisha Stevedoring Ltd (OSL), the agitators alleged.A senior PPT official said the workers’ protest hit cargo operations till Friday afternoon. Normalcy was later restored after the agitators called off their stir after discussions and joined their duties.  Vice-president (HR) of OSL PK Panda assured the agitators that discussions will be held with the workers on March 29 on the issue and no action will be taken before the talks. Disciplinary action will be discussed and finalised in the meeting.
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