All India Strike – How will it Effect Common Man – The CTUs have claimed that over 18 crore workers joined the all-India strike.
Over a million workers from at least 10 central trade unions (CTUs) are participating in the ‘Bharat bandh’ today, also known as the trade union strike, against the anti-labour policies of the central government.
The CTUs have claimed that over 18 crore workers joined the all-India strike, making it bigger than the one held last year, also on September 2.
The trade union workers were joined by the employees of banks, public sector, telecom and factories seeking higher wages and protesting against centre’s “unilateral” labour reforms, investment policies and plans to close some loss-making firms.
What will be affected – What will be not
- Employees of at least six public sector banks are joining the strike. This means that the banking services will be affected with many banks already having communicated to their customers about the likely inconvenience.
- Private banks and ATMS, however, will remain functional.
- Commuters will have a tough time today as public transport will be certainly hit. Many autorickshaw unions in cities like Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad have decided to keep off the roads today.
- Railways have, however, opted out of the bharat bandh. Trains will be running smoothly.
- Schools and colleges have not declared any holiday either. They will remain open.
- Services of sectors like telecom, electricity, insurance and mining seems to be affected. But thh extent to which these services will be hit, is not known yet.
- Factories will remain closed.
- The workers of state-run Coal India will be joining the bandh but company officials said they did not expect any shortfall in supplies for power companies.
- Supply of essential commodities, like milk and water, will not be affected.
- Medical shops will be open, as they are exempted from the strike call.
CENTRE TRIES TO WOO WORKERS, BUT IN VAIN
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Power Minister Piyush Goyal, appealed to the unions to call off the strike after an emergency meeting with the Prime Minister.
Jaitley tried persuading the union workers to call off the strike by announcing bonuses for state government employees for the last two years and saying that the Centre would increase wages for unskilled labourers.
But the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) rejected the government’s appeals to call off the strike, saying it failed to address their demands.
WHAT ARE THE WORKERS DEMANDING?
The trade unions are demanding social security for the workers and minimum wages of nothing less than Rs 18,000 per month.
They opposed Centre’s proposal to hike minimum wages for unskilled workers by up to 20 per cent, which means the wages would be Rs 12,000 per month for Tier-I cities. The union rejected the proposal saying that the hike in wages should be considering the price rise.
The unions also want an assured enhanced pension of not less than Rs 3,000 per month for all sectors, including the unorganised sector.
Workers also demand removal of FDI from railways, defence and other “strategic sectors”.
But, the ‘Bharat bandh’ is also not short politics, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her party have opposed it saying they are against strikes as it harms and creates inconvenience for the people.
Taking a tough stand, the state government has directed all its employees to report to work on September 2 and has cancelled the weekly off day of saturday also. The CM also added that they are contemplating a law to ensure those who damage public property are made to pay for the damages.
Manoj Kanti Guha, General Secretary of the West Bengal State Coordination Committee said, “The pay commissions should work properly and the contract workers should be made permanent with proper pay wages. We will go ahead with the strike, so that our demands are accepted.
We are going on the strike by maintaining all the procedures as mentioned in WBSR. But the government is trying to stop us. We will file a case against the punishments that are imposed on us for the strike including cancellation of holidays. Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya will take the case.
We will continue until the government accepts our demands. According to the leave rule, if a worker takes a leave, the government has no right to impose pressure on the worker and threaten them with punishments. All the workers and members are supporting this strike and we will try make it a success.”
Leader of oppositon in West Bengal Legislative Assembly and Senior CPI (M) leader Surya Kanta Mishra said,”The central trade unions have made it clear that none of the demands that they had made were accepted by the central government so far. And nothing has been done about this issue in the last one year. So they have called for this strike. I have also informed them that in spite of the efforts made by the state governments by distributing circulars, hoardings, campaigns, threats and attacks on us, we will support the strike and see that it succeeds.”
Source: India Today