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Court order to file statement on container terminal negotiations

Special Correspondent

Kochi; A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday directed the Regional Labour Commissioner (Central) to file a statement regarding the progress of the negotiations being held to resolve a dispute over loading and unloading of goods at the Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal at Willingdon Island.

The Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice S.S. Satheesachandran issued the directive when an appeal filed by the India Gateway Terminal Private Ltd. came up for hearing. The Bench had earlier stayed a single judge's interim order directing the Central government and Cochin Port Trust (CPT) to retain the Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal at Wellington Island for a further period of three months for handling coastal cargos.

The Bench had made it clear that the other directives of the single judge would remain in force. The single judge had directed that the Union government, the State government and the Port authorities to address the concern expressed by the trade unions over the job security of around 1,000 workers, in consultation with the India Gateway Terminal Private Ltd. The unions feared that workers would lose their jobs once the terminal was shifted to Vallarpadam. The Bench also ordered that both the State and the Central governments and the CPT should take all steps to ensure that the claims and rights of labourers were considered during talks.

The single judge's order came on a writ petition filed by the Seafood Exporters Association of India, Mangala Seafood Exim Private Ltd. and Kitex Garments Ltd.

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