Over 200 seafarers working with the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI) have launched an indefinite hunger strike seeking immediate implementation of revised wages.
These seafarers, deployed on 15 vessels owned and operated by the Centre, launched their strike yesterday demanding revised wages in accordance with the clauses of National Maritime Board Indias agreement.
These seafarers have also approached the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) for its intervention.
“Yes, the agitating seafarers approached us and our trade union has assured full support to them. Unfortunately, SCI has not yet implemented the latest National Maritime Board India agreement which was signed on April 2, 2016 in spite of our repeated advice and communication,” NUSI General Secretary Abdulgani Serang said.
The latest National Maritime Board India agreement assures 30 per cent increment in wages and payment of the past arrears to the Indian seafarers, said Serang, adding that the agreement was signed by NUSI and the Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA).
“All members of INSA have executed the clauses of National Maritime Board India’s latest agreement. However, SCI has not yet implemented the agreed clauses despite being a member of INSA. The seafarers were assured that SCI will implement the revised wages and also the arrears after the SCI Board of Directors meeting held on 26th May, 2016,” Serang said.
He added, “We regret to note that SCI deliberately did not discuss and formalize the revised wages and arrears payable to seafarers in their Board meeting. This has led to serious situation and seafarers have already started agitation on board.”
Giving details of the ships, Serang informed that the seafarers working on SCI ships, namely M V Goa, M T Swarna Godavari, Col S P Wahi, M T Desh Gaurav, SCI Urza, M V SCI Mukta, SCI Ratna, R V Samudra Kaustubh, M T Desh Suraksha, GTV Samudra Sarvekshak, SCI Johnson, etc have gone on strike.
When contacted, V K Bhandari, Vice President of Fleet Personnel Department of SCI, said, “It’s not such that they are on strike, but we are taking up the case and will let you know later on.”