Strike hits normal life; Bengal, Kerala among most affected

New Delhi: Normal life was affected in various parts of the country, including West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala and Karnataka, as 10 central trade unions today 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. BJP-backed BMS and NFITU however stayed away from the strike. The strike affected transport, banking operations and other services in various parts of the country.

Normal working at banks was affected as 23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and over 13,000 cooperative banks have joined the stir except SBI, IOB, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank who choose to stay away from the strike.


Trade union activists shout slogans against the central government during a protest rally in Ranchi on September 2, 2015. Pic/ AFP

Over half of the 10 lakh banking sector workers have gone on strike, All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said. Cases of small skirmishes were reported in West Bengal and National Capital Region among other places.

In Kolkata, partial impact was seen on suburban trains while shops, markets and business establishments in most areas 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. In Kerala, public and private bus services, taxis and autorickshaws were off the roads. Only private cars and two wheelers were seen on the roads. Shops, hotels and even small tea stalls were closed in the state.

In Tripura, vehicles did not ply on the roads, while markets were closed. Banks and other financial institutions, schools and colleges were closed and attendance was thin in government offices as well. The entrance gates of ONGC facility and the Tripura Jute Mill were closed.

In Karnataka, government transport workers also joined the strike objecting to the proposed motor bill. Buses and autorickshaws kept off the roads causing inconvenience to office goers and those travelling to far of places.

While impact of strike was visible in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu was largely unaffected. Several services like public transport were partially affected in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Commuters faced a lot of difficulties, though private buses plied on their
route. Bank customers faced inconvenience.


Traders Union strike in chennai, Tamil Nadu affects daily life

All India Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev said in Gurgaon that as many as five lakh industrial workers have gone on strike there. He also said that workers did not turn up at Maruti Suzuki plant today due to agitation and even Rajasthan Roadways employees are in strike. Honda Motorcycle and Scooter plant in Manesar remained closed.

"The strike has had an impact across the country and even in Delhi. In several areas BMS people also joined the strike. Many local and affiliated unions have also joined in the strike," All India Trade Union Congress General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said.

He added: "The strike shows how much people are disenchanted with the anti-worker policy of the government and its failure to contain food prices as well as its failure to contain the economic slowdown."

In Goa, streets were deserted in the morning as private buses and the state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Ltd (KTCL) buses remained off the roads.

In Delhi, people were seen waiting for hours for autorickshaws in several parts of the city, and public services like metro and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses witnessed surge in number of passengers. People headed for offices, schools and colleges this morning were impacted.

In Odisha, train services were disrupted for some time at several places as protesters blocked tracks near railway stations like Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Bhadrak, Chhatrapur and Khalikot, East Coast Railway. Around 10 trains were delayed leaving passengers stranded at various places.

The government yesterday appealed to trade unions to 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 last month did not make any headway on their 12-point charter of demands.

Their demands includes urgent measures to rein in price rise, contain unemployment, strictly enforce basic labour laws, provide universal social security cover for all workers and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

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

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