Bangladesh Noujan Sramik Federation (BNSF) and Launch Labour Association called for the countrywide strike
Water transport workers went on strike from early Tuesday to press home their 11-point demand, which includes safety on river routes, stopping of illegal toll collection, increase in wages and benefits, and issuance of appointment lettters.
Bangladesh Noujan Sramik Federation (BNSF) and Launch Labour Association called for the countrywide strike.
Visiting Barisal river port at noon on Tuesday, it was found that motorized passenger water transports had stopped operating on 18 routes of the southern region, and the vessels were left anchored in mid-river.
As a result, hundreds of passengers were forced to return from the river port. Some waited there helplessly as they had no other alternative mode of communication, except the river routes, to reach their destinations.
Henry Swapan, a passenger, said he needed to go to Dhaka urgently with his family, but was uncertain whether they could go or not due to the strike.
Ekin Ali Master, joint secretary of BNSF, said the strike will continue until their demands are fulfilled.
Ashik Chowdhury, secretary general of BNSF, said a meeting was called for Tuesday afternoon, at the labour directorate office, between the parties concerned to negotiate an end to the dispute.
Shah Alam, president of BNSF, said two lakh workers of more than 20,000 water transports are participating in the strike, demanding their safety, security on waterways by stopping extortion and robbery, restoration of navigability of rivers by dredging, and increase in salary and benefits for maintaining a minimum standard of living.
On other hand, JaPa lawmaker Golam Kibria Tipu, a leader of launch owners’ association and owner of triple-decker launch MV Tipu that runs on the Dhaka-Barisal route, said they will continue their services despite the strike.