Thousands of people suffered as water transport workers went on an indefinite strike across the country from Friday midnight to press home their 11-point demand, including increasing wages.
Bangladesh Water Transport Workers’ Federation called the strike, UNB reports.
The workers’ demands include providing risk allowance, stopping extortion, and ensuring clean water and food for them.
Passengers suffered as movement of all types of vessels remained halted on 33 routes including Dhaka’s Sadarghat, Chandpur, Barishal, Bhola, Patuakhali, Pirojpur, Vandira and Jhalakathi.
Operation of lighterage vessels were also suspended at Chattogram river port.
Shah Alam Bhuiyan, president of Bangladesh Water Transport Workers’ Federation, said this is the third time they are going on strike to press for their demands.
“We’ve been forced to go on an indefinite strike since our demands are yet to be fulfilled,” he said.
BIWTA’s Joint Director (Dhaka river port), AKM Arifuddin said the owners and workers are scheduled to hold talks around 2pm.
Meanwhile, six launches left from Sadarghat for Chandpur, Damudya and Shariatpur at the initiative of the vessel owners.
In Khulna, operation of lighterage vessels remained suspended at Mongla and Khulna ports since Friday midnight.
Sheikh Fakhar Uddin, harbour master commander of Mongla Port Authority, said movement of lighterage, cargo, barge, oil tanker and coasters was suspended as all workers had joined the strike.
No vessel left Mongla for Jashore’s Noapara while over 700 vessels were seen anchored at the ports.
Delwar Hossain, general secretary of Khulna Zilla Water Transport Workers’ Federation, said workers abstained from unloading and carrying goods from local and foreign vessels.
“We’ll continue the strike until our demands are met,” he said.