Scores of workers engaged in logistics operations at Krishnapatnam port have urged the management to provide job protection, payment of wage arrears and eight-hour shifts, among other issues.
The workers have joined the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) to press their demands. The CITU had represented the workers’ demands before the District Collector at Nellore where the port is located, following which the Collector had directed the Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO), Nellore to call a meeting to resolve the grievances of the workers.
The workers, after issuing a notice to the port management, have decided to work for eight hours as per law, instead of the 12-hours prevailing at the port, from December 11.
Apart from the demands for wage arrears, shorter working hours, bonus and variable dearness allowance, which they say hasn’t been paid for the last three years, the CITU is seeking reinstatement of 26 workers, who it said were “illegally terminated” by the management, after they went to their native places due to Covid-19.
“During the meeting on November 17, we told the RDO that the port management was resorting to unfair labour practices and unethical methods such as illegal transfers and foisting false cases on workers raising their voice against the management,” said Narasinga Rao, President, CITU, AP State Committee. The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Labour Commissioner.
A spokesman for Krishnapatnam Port Co Ltd said it engages professional service providers to manage various operations.
“There were changes in service providers (after Adani acquired the port in October). A section of employees working in one of the service providers had raised issues related to working hours, settlement of statutory dues, job guarantee, payment of bonus and overtime, before moving to the new service provider. They reported the matter to the District Collector, Nellore who referred it to the RDO for discussion with the KPCL management to resolve the matter peacefully,” the spokesman said.
During the meeting with the RDO, the port management assured that the jobs of all the employees working at the port under different service providers was secured and they were being placed with new service providers at the same salary and benefits as they are entitled now.
It was communicated that the employees who were prolonged absentees and did not report in spite of providing opportunities to report back were relieved after issuing notices and providing sufficient opportunity by the respective companies. As replacements for them had already been taken, in the absence of any suitable position, they could not be reinstated immediately.
It also confirmed that all the employees are being paid privilege leave encashment and employees who are eligible for gratuity due to change will have a choice to either avail of gratuity or continue gratuity with the new service provider.
On bonus payment, the respective service provider had incurred losses, hence the same was not paid. However, it was assured that whatever had to be paid legally would be paid.
The management communicated that increment was not given to any employee as the companies /firms were not doing well. However, all the employees were paid their salary on time and all were drawing decent wages above the minimum wages.
It was informed that the management is providing leave and encashment to the employees and now with new service providers they will get the benefit of CL/SL and PL, which are standardised.