Report by KEC correspondent
The Mumbai Port Trust Dock and General Employees Union and Transport and Dock Workers Union observed 3rd November as a Black Day to protest against the implementation of the Major Port Authorities Act (2021).
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways announced the implementation of the Major Port Authorities Act (2021) at all major ports from 3 November 2021. The letter of the Mumbai Port Trust of 2nd November about renaming it as Mumbai Port Authority is enclosed.
No union or federation was consulted before implementing this Act. Thus, the Mumbai Port Trust Dock and General Employees Union and Transport and Dock Workers Union gave the call to observe 3rd November as a Black Day. On this day, dock workers wore black ribbons to work to protest against the anti-worker policies of the central government. At Carnac Bunder, Mumbai workers burned copies of the Act.
The Major Port Authorities Act clears the way for the corporatisation and privatisation of the country’s 12 major ports. The Act allows private companies to undertake port operations although the nominal ownership of ports will remain with the government. Private companies will have control over port infrastructure and land, which are valuable public assets. The Act allows port authorities to raise loans from private banks and foreign financial institutions, further endangering control and management of the ports. Moreover, the privatisation of major ports that handle defence cargo will put national security at risk.
The protesting unions of port and dock workers have appealed to the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways to implement the Act only after discussion with the federation and unions.