Water transport workers are going to start a countrywide indefinite strike from early Saturday to press home their 11-point demand, including implementation of the pay scale of 2016.
The workers under the banner of Bangladesh Noujan Sramik Federation (BNSF) organised a protest rally in front of the Jatiya Press Club yesterday, said a press statement.
Speaking at the rally, BNSF leaders alleged that a vested quarter was trying to foil the workers’ movement by intimidating them in many ways. Some workers came under attack from criminals in the last couple of months, they added.
The leaders received death threats from criminals who had attacked the organisation’s central office recently. These incidents have extremely angered the workers, said the press statement.
Amid such a situation, the BNSF leaders announced the strike. Their demands include trial of the attackers; stopping extortion and robbery in vessels; providing appointment letters to workers, issuing identity cards and service books to workers; ensuring social safety of workers; and providing a compensation of Tk 10 lakh to a worker in case of his death while on duty.
The leaders said they had been bargaining with vessel owners and government officials concerned for realising their demands for the last couple of years. But the owners and the authorities concerned adopted dilly-dallying tactics over implementation of the demands.
Earlier in April and July last year, workers had enforced strikes twice to press home their demands. But officials of the labour department and vessels owners requested them to call off the strike assuring that the demands would be met. But they didn’t take any measures in this regard, complained workers’ leaders.
“The leaders [of BNSF] hope that the government will stop the workers from carrying out the movement by taking immediate measures to meet their demands,” said the statement.
BNSF President Shah Alam Bhuiyan, and Secretary General Chowdhury Ashiqul Alam, among others, spoke at the rally
Meanwhile, the Barisal unit of the workers’ platform brought out a protest procession at Barishal river port area yesterday afternoon, expressing solidarity with the strike, reports our Barishal correspondent.