Water Transport Workers’ union halts loading of Israeli weapons amid Gaza war

| Updated: 19 February, 2024 2:05 pm IST

CHENNAI: In a resolute stance of solidarity with the people of Palestine, workers’ federations across 11 major Indian ports have decided to boycott the loading and unloading of weaponised cargoes destined for use in the conflict against Palestine, particularly in war-ravaged Gaza.

The Water Transport Federation of India (WFTU), representing over 3,500 workers nationwide, has pledged its support to Palestine, condemning the Israeli military attacks that have resulted in significant loss of life and displacement of countless families.

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“We stand in solidarity with Palestine and condemn the atrocities inflicted upon its people by the Israeli army. As members of the  WFTU, including the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and other left-wing trade unions globally, we believe it is imperative for world leaders to address the suffering endured by the Palestinian people and extend support to their cause,” remarked CD Nandakumar, President of WFTU, in an interview with The New Indian.

The decision to boycott handling weaponised cargoes aligns with ongoing protests and demonstrations organised by left-wing organisations such as the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI(M)), Communist Party of India (CPI), Student Federation of India (SFI), and Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), who have been vocal in their support for Palestine since the commencement of military actions by the Israel Defense Force (IDF) against Gaza and other regions.

“At this juncture, our union ministers have collectively decided to refuse handling all types of weaponised cargoes. Loading and unloading these weapons helps provide organisations with the ability to kill innocent people,” said T Narendra Rao, General Secretary of WFTU.

“Hence, we the Indian Port and Dock workers from various major ports active in the ground of the Cargo handling sector, call on our members to no longer handle any ships which carry military material to Palestine/Israel,” he added.

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