Chittagong, September 30: Prime mover owners and workers on Friday postponed their strike in Chittagong Port until October 4 after getting assurance of Chittagong Metropolitan Police commissioner for action against alleged harassment of workers.
Prime Mover-Trailer Owners and Workers’ Unity Council called the strike on Monday for a seven-point charter of demand, including that of cancelling fine for transportation of goods beyond the fixed ceiling.
Amidst this situation, CMP Commissioner Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury sat with the striking transporters on Friday morning after talks on Thursday failed to find a way out of the situation.
After the meeting with the CMP chief, the Unity Council’s Joint Convenor Golam Mawla quoted authorities as saying that each prime mover would be allowed to carry up to 42 tonnes of goods.
The association alleged that since the government fixed the ceiling on August 16, its workers are harassed whenever Prime trailers are found carrying more than the ceiling.
The strike had almost crippled the port. After two other organisations of transporters announced to join the strike, apex trade body FBCCI on Thursday urged early solution to the stalemate that was hurting export and import.
To reduce the damage of roads, the authorities on August 16 imposed an upper limit on the maximum permissible load that a container carrying vehicle could tow.
Transport owners say while they have little to do about container weight, they are being fined Tk 2000 for every ton above the maximum permissible load of 33 tonnes, and the workers are being harassed for the fine at the weighbridges along Dhaka-Chittagong Highway.
Mawla said the CMP chief also pledged to make arrangements for collecting the fines from the owners of the containers, not the transporters.
Chittagong Prime Mover-Trailer Workers’ Union General Secretary Humayun Kabir said the strike was postponed until an inter-ministerial meeting scheduled for October 4.
The leaders of the transporters’ associations said the next course of action would be set after the meeting.
Until Thursday, over 40,000 undelivered 20-foot containers were stranded, paralysing the port with a capacity of 36,000 containers.