Hundreds of seafarers have been on hunger strike at several ports across India since the start of the week demanding a pension scheme and an increase in minimum wages.
The protest has been organised by the Forward Seaman’s Union of India (FSUI), which has sought an increase in the minimum wages paid to serving seafarers and pensions for retired sailors.
In a memorandum submitted to the directorate general of shipping, FSUI stated its chief demand is the implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention, and the implementation of a minimum wage. While MLC sets the minimum wage at $614 per month, domestic Indian shipping companies can get away with paying crew as little as $105 per month, FSUI claims.
The protesters are also demanding domestic seafarers get pensions of Rs5,000 a month.
The government has yet to act on the protests. In the past it has dismissed the FSUI, claiming it is not a real trade union.