Goa’s lifeguards call off strike, get back to beaches

December 11th, 2010 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Panaji, Dec 11 (IANS) Goa’s beaches are again safe for swimming as more than 300 lifeguards have called off their six-day old strike Saturday, a private beach management agency official said. V. Kanwar, chief operating officer of the Drishti Special Response Service (DSRS), said that the lifeguards who had struck work protesting low pay and long work hours, resumed duties unconditionally Saturday. DSRS is in charge of the lifeguard operation on Goa’s 105-km long coastline.

“The strike stands withdrawn and lifeguards have started arriving on beaches. We expect that by Saturday evening or Sunday morning, we will have full strength on the beaches,” Kanwar told reporters here.

He also said that 54 lifeguards who had been leading the strike would not be hired back by the beach management company.

“We have terminated the services of 54 lifeguards, so in all we have 440 lifeguards left. We have advertised vacancies and for selection of more lifeguards,” Kanwar said.

The state’s tourism industry Friday urged the state government to intervene and get lifeguards back to Goa’s beaches, ahead of Christmas and New Year season, which sees a tourism peak.

For the last six days, a skeletal force of lifeguards was manning the state’s beaches.

Goa’s tourism season from October to March sees nearly 2.4 million tourists, of whom half a million are foreigners drawn by Goa’s sunny beaches.

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