Mangaluru, Jan 02, 2018: At least 100 plus workers of Tebma Shipyards Ltd. are on an indefinite strike at the shipyard at Maple Fisheries Harbour demanding that their pending salaries for last six months be released immediately, here.
According to the workers, though they had not been paid salaries for six months, they worked hoping that they would get it as there were talks going on between the company officials and the Udupi district administration. But they stopped work seven days ago, as nothing came of the talks.
A worker in the materials department, said that he and many other workers were working since the last 10 years. As many as 22 vessels, including 14 tugs, and a barge, had been built in this shipyard in the last 10 years. “Since our salaries have not been paid for the last six months, yet we have been working in the belief that the company might pay us. But we can no longer run our homes,” he said.
A stores worker said that the cost of some of the ships constructed here runs into crores of rupees. On December 8, the officers of the company assured the district administration that they would pay five months salaries and ex gratia . After a few days, they said that two months salaries and ex gratia would be paid. But nothing has happened. “We will not allow construction of any vessel or tug here until our salaries are paid,” he said.
A lady working in the Purchase Department, said that she and some others had been working in the shipyard for the last nine years and their services were regularised four years ago. “Without salary for six months, it is impossible to meet household expenses and we have no food even,” she said.
Another lady from the Human Resources Department, said that the company had not even contributed to the Provident Fund and ESI for the last three months. “Due to this, it has become difficult to avail ourselves of healthcare facilities. Some workers are struggling to pay their monthly instalments of housing and vehicle loans,” she said.
Yashpal Suvarna, municipal councillor, said that the land of the fisheries harbour was leased to Tebma Shipyards despite opposition from fishermen over a decade ago. The company has not paid salaries claiming losses.
“If that is so, the government should take back the leased land and build a repair yard for fishing boats so that it is beneficial to the fishermen,” he said.