Water transport workers have started a nationwide strike over a 12-point charter of demands, including calls for a minimum salary of Tk 20,000.
The strike, under the banner of Noujan Sramik Sangram Parishad, began on Sunday midnight.
Some of the demands are:
· The minimum wage of water transport workers should be set at Tk 20,000
· Labourers going to India should be provided with landing passes
· Restrictions on overnight movement of bulkheads should be relaxed
· Construction of a shelter at Chattogram port and the lease of Charpara Ghat should be cancelled
· The ongoing supply of fuel oil through the pipeline from Chattogram port should be stopped
Due to the work stoppage, cargo unloading operations at several lightering vessels stationed on the outer anchorage of the Chattogram port and the banks of the Karnaphuli River have come to a standstill.
Lightering workers have not gone to unload the larger vessels anchored near the port due to the strike, said Md Omor Faruk, secretary of the Chattogram Port Authority.
Humayun Ahmed, transport inspector of BIWTA, said that one launch left for Bhola on Sunday morning while 35 launches have docked at the pontoon.
About 10 launches on the Elisha route of Chandpur and Bhola are not leaving due to strike, he said.
He said that many meetings were held with the government and the owners over several months. A committee has also been formed, but the workers still chose to go on strike.