Around 200 seafarers with Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), the country's largest shipping company, are on a hunger strike (industrial action) since Saturday over wages and arrears.
According to a Press Trust of India report, these seafarers, deployed on 15 vessels owned and operated by the Centre, launched their strike demanding revised wages in accordance with the clauses of National Maritime Board Indias agreement.
These seafarers have also approached the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) for its intervention.
"SCI was meant to have increased seafarer wages by 30% as agreed in March last year," says the Union.
“The arrears haven’t been given for over a year now. So the seafarers of 16 ships of Shipping Corporation which include tanker vessels among others have gone on hunger strike,” Abdulgani Y Serang, general secretary of the National Union of Seafarers of India told Business Standard newspaper. “There has been no response from the company so far,” he added.
Shipping Corporation has 2,500 seafarers. If more join the agitation, the country's merchandise trade could be affected, experts said.
V K Bhandari, Vice President of Fleet Personnel Department of SCI, said, "Its not such that they are on strike, but we are taking up the case and will let you know later on."
Meanwhile, SCI on May 26 reported a net loss of Rs 7 crore for the fourth quarter ended March, 2016. The largest domestic ship liner had recorded a net profit of Rs 101.49 crore in the year-ago period.