AsiaPorts and Logistics

Workers up in arms against port corporatisation plan

Mumbai: Workers in the Indian port sector are up in arms against the budgetary proposal to corporatise major ports, as they fear the move would affect them adversely. They feel corporatisation would ultimately lead to privatisation of major ports and enable cartelisation by private players.

“By corporatising major ports, successor companies will have the right to do away with the existing wage agreements and provide lower wages,” said P M Mohammed Haneef, general secretary of the All India Port and Dock Workers Federation. “This would result in increase in contractual workers and decline of regular jobs in various departments.”

The major reasons projected by the Shipping Ministry for privatisation of major ports are to improve productivity/efficiency and for prudential investments.

According to Haneef, technological efficiency could be improved by replacing old equipment with new ones with advanced technology, just as management efficiency could be enhanced by appointing professionals.

Workers would like the government to extend autonomy to major ports by reducing undue interference in their working.

Five major national port and dock workers’ federations plan to go on an indefinite strike from March 9 to press their demands.

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Shirish Nadkarni

Shirish Nadkarni is a management consultant and freelance international journalist, who has been writing on all spheres of Indian business for the past three decades for a number of reputed overseas publications. An avid sportsman, Nadkarni has represented India in international veterans' badminton since 1997, and was the 55+ age group doubles world champion in 2005.
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