In the backdrop of a fuel price hike, container transporters today staged a token strike urging importers to pay them the fares initially agreed upon for their service.
The Container Transporters’ Union said that had agreed upon certain rates of payment for the transportation of imported items from the port to various destinations. However, Union’s Secretary Sunil Ananda said that forwarding and clearing companies never stuck to the rates stipulated previously.
“If the rate stipulated was Rs.13,000, they used to pay us only Rs.13,000. Now we have been affected by the fuel price hike. Therefore, we demanded that the original amount agreed upon should be paid to us. We staged a token strike in this case. Later, importers agreed to our demand,” he said.
Meanwhile, container drivers also demanded that their payment be increased from 15 per cent to 17 per cent. Drivers are paid 15 per cent of the total transport cost as their salary by transporters whereas their assistants are paid only 10 percent.
R.I. Abdeen, General Secretary of the All Ceylon Container Drivers’ Union, said that members of his union too supported a trade union action in this regard. He said that the payment of their assistant should be increased to 13 per cent at least.
“We are doing a difficult job. We wait for 10 to 12 hours in certain cases to transport goods unloaded from ships,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)