The Port of Jawaharlal Nehru (Nhava Sheva) is at a standstill as dockworkers at India’s largest container gateway take part in a nationwide 48-hour general strike.
“All the three container terminals in the port are simply idling. There is no movement in the harbor, including loading or offloading intermodal trains,” a port official said.
Nearly 60 percent of India’s total containerized export and import cargo moves through Nhava Sheva.
Officials said several ships are stranded at the outer anchorage for berth, and many more are scheduled to arrive.
Unionized dockers have also walked off the job at other major state-owned ports, including Mumbai, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Cochin and Tuticorin. Some acts of violence took place in northern India, following the death of a local trade union leader.
The industrial action, protesting the union government’s labor policies, is scheduled to continue until midnight Thursday.
Besides dockworkers, truckers, seafarers, shipyard workers, rail workers, public sector employees and workers from other sections are also participating in the two-day protest, which followed a 24-hour nationwide strike in February last year. Unions called the latest strike, which hit the country on the eve of the Indian Parliament’s budget session, to protest rising inflation, divestment of state ownership in public sector companies, lack of social security in the unorganized sector and denial of trade union rights.
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in a statement said the two-day stoppage is expected to cost the nation approximately Rs. 20,000 crore (about $3.7 billion).