Strike hits container traffic movement from Cochin port

Kochi, March 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2006, 06:37am hrs
Confusion prevails over the strike by the container trailer workers which entered the fourth day on Thursday with major unions calling off the agitation, though the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has threatened to go ahead with the strike. The agitation has affected container traffic movement from the Cochin port, forcing several exporters to ship out their material from other ports.

According to Container Carrier Owners Association president Mani Nair, though major unions CITU and the Cochin Turamukha Tozhilali Union signed an agreement and offered to withdraw from the agitation, BMS was bent upon going ahead and have threatened to block any trailer movement. It is learnt that despite leaders of the two unions calling off the strike, workers were supporting the BMS decision to continue the strike.

As per the agreement, all demands for higher wages would be considered later and trailer staff would get an extra allowance of Rs 50-100 for delay of over five hours at the pre-stage area.

Port sources said the strike, especially at the fag end of the fiscal where exporters had to meet their orders, would result in nearly 2,000 teu fall in cargo volume moving out from the port. Already around 1,500 tonne of tea to be shipped out of Kochi had been diverted to Tuticorin, following the strike. A top shipping agent said that nearly 18,000 tonne of coffee earmarked for Kochi port had been diverted to Chennai, Tuticorin and Mangalore ports.