Published:  05:34 AM, 01 December 2019

Workers end water transport strike

Workers end water transport strike Several water vessels docked at Dhaka's Sadarghat launch terminal amid ongoing strike enforced by water transport workers on Saturday. -Mostrafizur Rahman/AA

Over 11 hours after enforcing it across the country to press home their 11-point demand, including an increase in their wages, water transport workers withdrew their indefinite strike on Saturday night following a fruitful discussion with the government.

General Secretary of Bangladesh Water Transport Workers' Federation Chowdhury Ashiqur Rahman announced the withdrawal of the strike after 11pm following a marathon meeting with Director General of the Department of Labor AKM Mizanur Rahman.

Public Relations Officer of the Labor Ministry Akhterul Islam said representatives of the workers who attended the meeting held at the Directorate of Labor called off the strike following a fruitful discussion, reports UNB.

Earlier, a nationwide strike enforced by water transport workers had brought launch services to a halt on waterways linking the southern districts to the rest of the country.

Although a few vessels reportedly left the Sadarghat terminal on Saturday morning, commuters in Chandpur and other districts were left to suffer the consequences of the indefinite strike called by Bangladesh Water Transport Workers' Federation at 12:01am on Saturday.

Workers were pressing for an 11-point charter of demands, including the provision of appointment letter, identity cards and food allowance, among others. They have long been demonstrating over their demands, but the launch owners only gave assurances instead of meeting those, according to Shah Alam, president of Bangladesh Water Transport Workers' Federation.

The work abstention program had also disrupted the loading and unloading of cargo from ships in Mongla.  Cargo ships, coasters and tankers remained docked in the port on Saturday.

Despite the ongoing strike, a number of vessels left Dhaka's Sadarghat for different destinations on Saturday. As many as 20 launches were scheduled to depart the terminal until 12 pm on Saturday, of which, only eight remain docked, according to Humayun Kabir, transport inspector of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority or BIWTA.

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