THE trade unions in Cochin Port have reached an understanding amongst themselves to boycott Israeli ships and cargo arriving at Cochin Port in protest against the siege of Gaza by Israeli forces. The boycott began on June 17 on receipt of information that cargo unloaded at Colombo Port from Israeli ship m/v Zim Livorno 16 was bound to arrive at Cochin Port in a feeder vessel. Similar consignments unloaded at Colombo from Israeli ships were set to arrive in feeder vessels.
On June 23, trade unions held a joint protest rally in Cochin Port near the office of Zim Integrated Shipping Services (India) Pvt Ltd – the Israeli shipping line. Addressing the rally B Hamza, general secretary of Cochin Port Labour Union (CITU) condemned the massacre of nine peace activists of flotilla that was carrying humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza on May 31. He expressed the solidarity of workers of Cochin Port to the people of Palestine. Representatives of various unions participating in the boycott also addressed the rally and declared that the workers of Cochin Port stood united with world-wide boycott by workers of Sweden, Great Britain, South Africa and other countries.
The trade union leaders who addressed the protest rally included Ashique, general secretary, Cochin Thuramugha Thozhilalai Union (HMS), Jamal Kunju, general secretary, Cochin Port Thozhilali Union (INTUC), C D Nandakumar, general secretary, Cochin Port Employees Organisation (CITU), Raghu Raj of Cochin Port Employees Sangh (BMS) and Charles of UTUC.
K V A Iyer, vice president of the Water Transport Workers Federation of India presided over the rally.