India's major ports were paralysed on Thursday (16 January) as an estimated 250,000 port and dock workers began an indefinite strike over pay.
GV & GV PAN Bombay docks (9 shots)
GV's Entrance to Indira dock (2 shots)
GV's Strikers out-side docks (4 shots)
SCU Union sign quoting "Indefinite strike"
GV Crowds at rally
MV, CU & BV Speaker addressing crowd (3 shots)
CU Union banner
SV & TV PAN Crowds at rally (2 shots)
Initials BB/0258 TH/DW/BB/0310
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: India's major ports were paralysed on Thursday (16 January) as an estimated 250,000 port and dock workers began an indefinite strike over pay.
Talks held on Wednesday (15 January) between the Government and the All-India Port and Dock Workers' Federation failed. The workers are demanding an immediate living-cost bonus increase of 100 rupees (GBP5.35 sterling), pending a salary revision.
Relatively few ships remained berthed at the strike-bound ports -- Bombay, Madras, Calcutta, Cochin, Vishakhapatnam, Marmugao, Kandhla and Paradeep -- as most vessels had been taken out to sea before the strike deadline.
In Bombay, Mr. S.R. Kulkarni, President of the dockers' Federation, addressed a mass rally of workers after his return from the abortive talks in Delhi. He urged the workers to keep up their struggle.
There are fears that if the strike continues for along period, severe hardship may result for many sections of the Indian population. The Government is concerned at the effect the strike could have on badly needed imports of food, oil and industrial supplies.
Some observers have estimated that India's bad harvest will eventually necessitate the import of 7.5 million tons of grain from the world market.