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American Shipper

Indian dockworker strike averted as government agrees to pay rise

Indian dockworker strike averted as government agrees to pay rise

A threatened strike by Indian dockworkers set to begin today never came to pass as the country’s Ministry of Shipping met pay increase demands to avert the stop-work action.

   Dockworkers at the 12 ports overseen by the national government — the so-called Major Ports — told the ministry they wanted increases in cost of living and productivity-linked compensation. Five unions representing the dockworkers also called for an immediate 13.5 percent hike in pay, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2007, as relief against inflation over the past 18 months.

   In a meeting with Indian Shipping Minister T.R. Baalu last week, they explained the demands and threatened the work stoppage. Nothing came out of the meeting as the government initially failed to accept the pay increases.

   But as the strike loomed this week, the government acquiesced, bumping up the cost of living increase — known as dearness allowance in India — by 50 percent. The five unions signed a settlement agreement Tuesday, averting the strike.

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