20 December 2012 – Union activists in India and Sri Lanka last week inspected flag of convenience vessels at several ports across South Asia to help drive up seafarers’ pay and conditions.
Riding on the success of the first staggered week of action in October, dockers’ and seafarers’ unionists in India and Sri Lanka embarked on the campaign from 10-14 December. Ports covered included Chennai, Colombo, Haldia, Kochi, Kolkata and Paradip. Unions also inspected vessels at private terminals in ports owned by multinational companies, such as Maersk, PSA and DPW. Unionists visited 35 vessels and negotiations are ongoing in Korea to sign agreements on four vessels and in India to sign a fleet agreement covering five vessels.
As part of the action week, unionists expressed their solidarity with port workers in the Maldives represented by the Maldives Port Workers’ Union (MPWU) who have reported that their employer has been carrying out union-busting activities, including dismissing several workers and union leaders. Activists in Colombo, for example, made noisy protests on board the Lily and other Maldives-flagged vessels. They handed over a letter addressed to the president of the Maldives, condemning the employers’ actions against the MPWU. The Tuticorin Port Mariners’ and General Staff Union also delivered a letter to the Coastal Vessel Owners’ Association informing them of the MPWU dispute and calling on it to help bring about a resolution.
To send a protest letter and message of solidarity in support of the Maldives workers, visit: http://www.itfglobal.org/solidarity/solidarity-3620.cfm