The decision came at a meeting between the water transport workers’ federation and the cargo vessel owners at the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Thursday
The water transport workers have withdrawn the cargo vessel strike, as the vessel owners have assured them of providing food allowance.
Bangladesh Water Transport Workers' Federation President Md Shah Alam announced the decision after a meeting with the owners’ association on Thursday evening, held at the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
“We have withdrawn the strike after getting confirmation of food allowance,” he said.
Minister of State for Labour Begum Monnujan Sufian chaired the meeting.
“With the intervention of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we have overcome the crisis. Getting food allowance was an old demand from the workers, which has now been met,” she said.
Also Read: Khalid: Cargo strike to end by Thursday, hopefully
Water transport workers across Bangladesh called a countrywide cargo vessel strike on Tuesday to press home their 11-point demand. The strike continued till Thursday.
The demands include payment of salaries of water transport workers as per the gazette announced in 2016, food allowance, health care equipment, provision of appointment letters, issuing identity cards and service books to workers, ensuring their social security, compensation of Tk10 lakh for those killed in workplace accidents, and effective measures to stop extortion on the waterways.
However, the main demand was getting food allowance of some Tk5,000 per month. Although the strike has been lifted, it has not yet been decided how much food allowance the workers will receive each month.
The leaders of the Bangladesh Cargo Vessels Owners Association (BCVOA) had said that they would only sit down to negotiations once the workers withdrew their strike.
“We will not sit for any discussion before the workers’ strike is lifted, as their demands are illogical,” Khurshid Alam, former senior vice president of BCVOA, said at a press conference in Dhaka on Thursday.
“We are providing them with benefits in compliance with the 2016 Wage Gazette, which is valid until June 2021. So, demanding more benefit now is illegal,” he said.
Earlier on Thursday, Minister of State for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said the workers’ demands were logical and owners should meet them.
He also held out the assurance that the cargo vessel strike would end by Thursday, as the relevant government agencies were working towards it.
On Thursday afternoon, a meeting between some leaders of the cargo vessel strike and the Chittagong Port Authority (CPA) Chairman Rear Admiral SM Abul Kalam Azad ended without any end to the crisis when some of the parties that were set to attend the meeting did not show up.