Strike which ‘paralyzed’ Indian port ends as new CBA agreed

ITF, Labour Disputes, News, Ports & Terminals — By on February 15, 2013 at 4:59 PM


Workers at Vallarpadam Terminal were on strike for 10 days Photo: Bharat S Raj, CC by-sa 3.0

Workers at Vallarpadam Terminal were on strike for 10 days Photo: Bharat S Raj, CC by-sa 3.0

15 February 2013 – A strike which brought the Kochi International Container Transhipment Terminal (ICTT Vallarpadam) in Kerala, India to a standstill for 10 days has ended after drivers and cleaners secured a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).  Container movement at the port was halted on 3 February with 3000 workers from 11 unions, including ITF-affiliated Cochin Port Staff Association, demanding a revision of their wages in line with inflation and to reflect the increase in hire charges for trailers.

It followed the expiry of the previous CBA for logistics workers at ICTT Vallarpadam, which is operated by global network terminal operator DP World, in September last year.   Previous attempts to agree a new CBA had proved unsuccessful. Following industrial action in December the Kerela district collector ordered the Trailer Owners Association (COCOWA) and the Trade Union Coordination Committee, which represents the unions concerned, to come to a settlement. However, despite agreeing to increased daily allowance (bata) to both drivers and cleaners the COCOWA failed to honour this which lead to the latest walkout. These allowances had not been increased since 1993.

Following a meeting with the CPSA the labour and port ministers of Kerela staged an intervention which has led to the agreement of a two-year settlement reflecting the increased hire charges and inflation.   CPSA president, P M Mohammed Haneef said: “This is a fair deal for workers who were forced into action by the lack of good faith, open negotiations surrounding this dispute. 11 unions came together here to work towards a common goal and they have managed to secure a great result for workers.”


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