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20,000 workers strike in Alang

Mumbai: Nearly 20,000 workers here have gone on an indefinite strike in Alang, India's premier shipbreaking centre, to protest the reduction in their wages. The global economic slump and downturn in the shipping industry has flooded Alang with ships with over 100 in waiting to be cut.  Moreover, India's rival for recycling Bangladesh has been hit by a court ruling threatening the imminent closure of more than 30 shipbreakers on environmental grounds. ??Sources in Alang said that since last two months around 110 ships beached at various plots for dismantling resulting in sudden spurt in demand for manpower. But, due to shortage of migrants, most of them from Orissa, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the wages of workers was hiked from around Rs 200 per day to over Rs 300. ??But, on Monday after a series of meetings, the ship breakers decided to go for no-poaching agreement to control increasing wage bill and not to pay daily wage more than Rs 240 in any circumstances. Some of the plot owners also put the decision on their notice boards, which prompted the labourers to congregate and ultimately they went on indefinite strike. ??Even the ship breakers have decided not to pay over time wages and stick to the schedule of 8 am to 5 pm. [25/03/09]?

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