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Mizzima: Union activists held up Bu
- Subject: Mizzima: Union activists held up Bu
- From: mizzima@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 03:47:00
Union activists held up Burmese ship at Calcutta Port
New Delhi, August 21, 2000
Mizzima News Group (www.mizzima.com)
M.V. Pagan, a Burmese ship carrying timber logs, has been held up since
yesterday evening at Calcutta Port by the trade union activists, demanding
the Burmese government to recognize trade unionism in the country. Activists
of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and port workers at
Calcutta refuse to handle the Burmese ship as they claim workers and
seafarers in Burma do not get their basic rights under the military junta
In a telephone interview with Mizzima, Mr. Parbati Das from Calcutta Port
Shramik Union said that when they inspected the ship, they found the
condition of seafarers, all 22 Burmese nationals, very bad and the seafarers
do not get even proper food, drinking water. "The wages they get are much
far below than any standard", said Mr. Das.
"Mr. Htun Shwe, Master of the ship and local agent have agreed to give us a
letter of undertaking that they would provide all the means and support to
the Burmese seafarers", said Mr. Das.
The ship is expected to be allowed to sail out late evening today after the
Master of the ship gives the undertaking to the union activists. "We have
not had any official response from the Burmese authorities. But, our main
intention is to make them aware of our solidarity and support extended to
Burmese seafarers", said Ms. Nishi Kapahi from ITF Delhi Office.
"We have always been supporting the cause of the Burmese Seafarers' Union,
which is in exile since trade unionism is not permitted in Burma. So, we
have been supporting this Union. The main reason for supporting this Union
is because of the substandard of the condition that our seafarers are
subjected to', said Ms. Nishi Kapahi.
ITF activists at Vishaka Patnam port in Andra Pradesh organized similar
boycott campaign in July this year. The ship, M.V. Chin Shwe Haw, was held
up for nearly four hours by 26 trade union activists belonging to ITF on 3rd
July morning and they then delivered a protest letter against the Burmese
junta through the ship Master.
The international Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), a global body of more
than five hundred transport workers' unions and International Confederation
of Free Trade Union (ICFTU) have been active in support of trade union
rights in Burma. It has protested the Burmese junta for not allowing the
trade unionism and denying the rights of the workers in the country.
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