Goods handling suspended at Ctg port
Goods unloading from ships at Chittagong seaport remained suspended from yesterday morning as stevedoring staffs went on work abstention demanding an increase in their Eid bonus.
The staffs suspended the work from the first shift of the day at 7:00am and continued agitation preventing others from joining work till the evening.
Sources said, the stevedoring staffs, who are engaged by the berth operators, are demanding Eid bonus of Tk 6,000 per head instead of Tk 3,000.
The staffs resented that they were getting bonus of Tk 3,000 per head while the dockworkers received Tk 5,000 this year.
The berth operators provided bonus money of Tk 2,000 to stevedoring staffs while Tk 4,000 to the dockworkers last year, sources said.
This year, the bonus was raised to Tk 1,000 for both the staffs and workers.
Handling of cargo of eleven vessels could not take place due to the sudden work abstention.
The stevedoring staffs also forcefully stopped the handling operation under the supervision of berth operators' own staffs on a few vessels around 1:00pm.
Talking to The Daily Star, Berth Operators Association convener Fazley Akram Chowdhury alleged that at least four of their staffs were injured in the attack of stevedoring staffs.
"After making such a contribution to the port introducing integrated operation, we now feel helpless and insecure," Akram said.
"We are going to meet the port chairman and other officials," he said adding that they will have to re-think about working at the port unless the port authority ensures safety and security of their men.
Meanwhile, Chittagong Port Authority formed a two-member committee headed by Director (Traffic) Ahasanul Kabir to hold a tripartite meeting to reach an understanding between the berth operators and stevedoring staffs.
The meeting was going on till filing of this report in the evening yesterday.