Two-day union negotiation wins protection for Indian workers
13 September 2011
Workers at a container freight station (CFS) outside the International Container Transshipment Terminal (ICTT) at Vallarpadam in Cochin, India, have won increased security and protection from abuse following two days of fraught negotiation between their union and management.
The newly operational CFS, owned by Chakiat Agencies, is one of several in Kerala set up to service the Vallarpadam terminal, which is operated by global network terminal operator (GNT), Dubai Ports World (DPW). The ITF-affiliated Cochin Port Staff Association (CPSA) has been working as part of the GNT campaign, to secure fair wages and better living conditions for logistics workers taken on at the CFS to deal with the transport of containers.
Last month these workers reported they had been intimidated by a group of people living in the area around the CFS. The neighbours are said to have complained about noise from the site and about flooding resulting from the construction process. Following this encounter the logistics workers asked that security staff be put in place to safeguard their welfare but this request was reportedly ignored by management.
The CPSA then took steps to organise the workers and discussions were set up between union leadership and management. After a hectic two days of negotiation, which included the threat of strike action, the union was successful in securing private security men at the CFS workers’ yard to allow workers to carry out their jobs without fear of abuse or attack. In addition, management also agreed to repair the road to the site for the benefit of local people.
A CPSA representative said: ”This was a clear case of management failing to live up to their responsibility to safeguard the health and safety of their employees. We will continue to fight – along with the hundreds of other ITF unions around the world - to ensure conditions for workers are fair and safe.”
To find out more about the GNT campaign to raise standards for port workers around the world go to the GNT campaign website
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