Thursday, September 3, 2015

Normal life was affected in various parts of the country, including in West Bengal, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana as 10 central trade unions on Wednesday went on a day-long nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs.

Trade union leaders claimed that around 15 crore formal sector workers are on strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands. The day long strike was seen affecting transport and banking operations among other services.
The government had on Tuesday appealed to trade unions call off the agitation in the interest of workers and nation.
#bank strike #labour #labour laws #trade union

Reports of sporadic violence emerged in Kolkata in West Bengal during the shutdown. Train services, both on the Eastern Railway and the South Eastern Railway, were hit as supporters blocked trains in several areas. Shops, markets and business establishments in most areas also remained closed. State administration was plying a large fleet of public buses while partial impact was seen on operations of private buses and taxis.

In the national capital, commuters faced problems as a large number of autos and taxis remained off the roads. New Delhi station also bore a deserted look.

The strike, however, did not have much impact on most of the public sector banks in Punjab and Haryana as Class 3 and 4 employees have joined the strike. Though the state-run bus services have been affected in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.

In Kerala, public and private bus services, taxis and autorickshaws were off the roads. Only few private cars and two wheelers were seen on the roads. Shops, hotels and even small tea stalls were closed in the state.

The inter-state transport between Tamil Nadu and Kerala was also affected.

In Tamil Nadu, several units in the hosiery town of Tiruppur downed their shutters due to the strike. Banking operations at nationalised banks - barring State Bank of India (SBI) and Indian Overseas Bank (IOB)- were affected as major unions in the banking sector are participating in the strike.

In Himachal, over 2,000 state roadways buses went off roads. However, the state government offices and educational institutions were functioning normally and there was no report of violence anywhere in the state. The impact of the shutdown was more in major towns like Shimla, Rampur, Theog, Solan, Mandi, Nahan, Una, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Dharamsala, Palampur, Kangra, Kullu and Manali as private bus operators also joined the protest.

An official of the Himachal Road Transport Corporation said more than 250 inter-state routes were badly hit due to the strike.

The government had on Tuesday appealed to trade unions call off the agitation in the interest of workers and nation. The unions, however, decided to go ahead with strike as their talks with a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in August failed to make any headway on their 12-point charter of demands.

Trade unions' 12-point charter of demands includes urgent measures to contain price rise, contain unemployment, strict enforcement of basic labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

They are also demanding enhanced pension for workers, stoppage of disinvestment in PSUs, stoppage of contractorisation, removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund, compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days, no amendment to labour laws unilaterally, stopping of FDI in Railways, Defence, etc.


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