Striking seafarers return to work as Shipping Corp promises wage hike, arrears


A week-long hunger strike of seafarers with the Shipping Corporation of India ended on Friday after the country's largest shipping company assured implementation of new revised wages and payment of arrears by July.

“There was a meeting last week with Shipping Corporation officials where they assured us the implementation of wage hike and disbursement of arrears as well,” a top official with National Union of Seafarers of India told Business Standard.

Around 200 seafarers had been on a hunger strike since May 28, which brought 16 vessels of the state-owned company to a standstill.

“All vessels are now running and there is no issue with operations,” said the officials. Meanwhile, officials of Shipping Corporation were not reachable for comment till the time of filing this copy.

According to the National Maritime Board (India) agreement that concluded in March 2015, Shipping Corporation was required to raise wages of its seafarers by about 30 per cent. However, the company had not revised wages for about a year.

The National Maritime Board agreement is applicable for petty officers working on foreign-bound, home trade and offshore vessels of Indian flag.

Shipping Corporation has a fleet of 69 vessels, mainly tankers and bulk carriers, and has a total of 2,500 seafarers. Had the agitation intensified, the country's merchandise trade would have got affected, according to industry experts.

In the year ended March 2016, the Shipping Corporation of India reported a profit for the second consecutive year after a gap of three years. In 2015-16, the company reported a net profit of Rs 377 crore, up 87 per cent from a year ago.

Source: Business Standard 

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