Some 36,000 port and dock workers at the 12 major ports owned by the Centre will get a 10.6 per cent wage hike for a five-year period beginning January 1, 2017.
The wage increase was finalised recently by the Bipartite Wage Negotiation Committee comprising representatives from the Indian Ports Association (IPA) and the five workers’ unions at major port trusts.
“A wage increase of 10.6 per cent is a very fair and reasonable settlement in the present scenario when the port trusts are going through a tough time,” T Narendra Rao, General Secretary, Water Transport Workers’ Federation of India, one of the five worker’s federations that were part of the negotiations, said.
The Ministry has formed a committee to draft the wage settlement, which will be signed in Mumbai in the first week of August, Rao said.
The wages of port and dock workers are revised once in five years as their wage revision was de-linked from other Central Government employees in 1969.
During the negotiations, the port management, though, sought to revise the wages once in ten years, in line with the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission for Central Government employees. But, this move was opposed by the worker’s unions.
At the lowest level, an employee will get a wage hike of 3,000 while at the highest level (excluding officers), a worker will get as much as 10,000, Rao said.
The workers will also be paid the arrears for 18 months from January 1, 2017. The wage revision comes at a time when the workers unions ended a 15-day campaign from June 28 “to create awareness among the port workers on certain basic issues pertaining to port and dock workers and industry and prepare them for a mass struggle against the ongoing anti-workers and anti-people policies of the government,” Rao said.
The unions, among other issues, have urged the Government to scrap the plan to convert ‘port trusts’ into ‘authorities’ by enacting the Major Port Authorities Bill, which they fear will lead to “privatisation” of the major ports.
The unions are also demanding a centrally- operated common pension fund for all major ports to ensure uninterrupted pension payments in the emerging scenario, Rao said.