17 July 2016 India Asia
Former MSC Melody Imperilled as Shipyard Workers Go On Hunger Strike
Unpaid wages and now chaos at shipyard forces hunger strike action says union.

(Picture: Quing at the ABG owned shipyard (Source WIS Ltd))
Workers at a shipyard owned by Indian conglomerate ABG Group have told the Times of India they are taking their grievances to public view via a chain hunger strike saying they have run out of options in a dispute that started seven months ago and shows no sign of settlement.

ABG Group owns a number of shipbuilding yards through is ABG Shipyard division and amongst them is Western India Shipyard in the state of Goa, where on-going disputes have raged at the yard with workers claiming salaries are unpaid and are also angry at the way the shipyard is run.

This dispute has followed long running labour relations problems at the yard. Back in February the board had to issue an extraordinary statement saying that its accounts could not be reviewed as "prevailed labour unrest" at the offices meant they could not access the office or records kept there.

It appears the workers are staging something of a sit in at the yard, complaining of a number of problems and grievances there. They have also refused access to the shipyard to one official whilst at the same time their union says they are co-operating with government and MPT (Mormugao Port Trust).

The official stepped in with the police following concerns over a vessel, the mv QUING, formerly the MSC MELODY which has lain at the yard for two years and has listed due to being filled with rainwater during a recent monsoon. Work has never started on the cruise ship it appears, which was sent to the yard to be converted into a floating hotel.

Salvors have been sent to the yard by the Port Trust but this has only added to the list of grievances with the union saying no-one knows who is coming in and out of the yard.

They demand that someone from the Port Trust comes to oversee work at the shipyard claiming that 'no-one seems to be responsible enough here'.

They will start their hunger strike in public on Monday and Tuesday and then escalate it to other areas if their demands are not met, in order to cause maximum embarrassment to the company and exposure for their grievances.

In November 2013 MSC MELODY was sold by MSC to Sahara India Pariwar, who then contracted Western India Shipyard to convert her into a floating leisure complex and sent to the shipard. It is claimed that work has never begun on the ship since.