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Strike paralyses river transports

Called off for passengers’ sufferings

WT24 Desk

River transportation services have come to a halt as workers went on strike, demanding appointment letters, allowances and an end to extortion, Agencies report.

Water transport workers called the strike for an indefinite period from Wednesday midnight across the country to press home their 11-point demand.

Later, they have called off their strike .

“We are postponing our programmes for now considering the passengers’ sufferings,” Bangladesh Noujan Sramik Federation President Shah Alam told this correspondent earlier in the afternoon when the meeting was underway.

The strike for the freighter ships would continue, he said, but later after the meeting, Bangladesh Jahaji Shramik Federation President Shukkur Mahmud confirmed the withdrawal of the strike.

He said the organisations also considered passengers’ need for travel ahead of Eid-ul-Azha and the floods.

State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury was also abroad, he pointed out.

Department of Shipping Director General Mizanur Rahman called them to the meeting after they enforced the strike from the first hours, paralysing water transport across Bangladesh.

“They have decided to operate vessels considering the sufferings of the passengers,” labour ministry spokesman Akter Hossain said after the meeting.

The workers’ 11-point charter of demand also includes a pay hike, providing identity cards, introducing provident funds, and landing passes for India-bound workers.

Not many launches came to Sadarghat Launch Terminal in Dhaka after the announcement of withdrawal of the strike, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority Joint Director Alamgir Kabir said in the evening.

“Maybe launch operations will normalise in the morning tomorrow (Thursday),” he said.

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