| Friday , September 2 , 2016 |
Unions claim big response to strike call
New Delhi, Sep 2 (PTI): Essential services such as banking and transport were affected on Friday, together with industry, as 10 central trade unions went on a nationwide strike, protesting against ”anti-worker” changes in labour laws and seeking better wages.
The leader of a Left trade union said the response had been good.
"We are getting good response. More information will pour in after some time. Around 90 per cent workers at BHEL's plant in Tiruchirapalli have not reported at work in the morning shift,” Tapan Kumar Sen, the general secretary of the Centre for Indian Trade Unions, the labour arm of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), told PTI.
The CITU leader said Visakhapatnam Steel Plant is fully closed.
“Vizag steel plant is 100 per cent closed. At some places there would be instances of 'Rail Roko'. This is going to be a successful strike as more than 15 crore workers will come on streets to protest,” he said.
Last year also, around 15 crore workers had taken part in a similar agitation called by the same 10 central trade unions.
The CITU leader claimed that the Gurgaon industrial area in Haryana is also completely closed. Gurgaon is home to automobile giant Maruti Suzuki Ltd and others.
"The police have arrested about 12 people in Manesar area. All this information indicates that the strike will be bigger this time,” he said.
All major unions, excluding the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which is linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, have joined the strike call, terming the government's assurances to look into their demands and the recent announcements for two-year bonus and hike in minimum wage as “completely inadequate”.
On its part, the government has asked all ministries to ensure that public utilities and essential services are not affected. Secretaries of all departments have been asked to take effective measures for smooth running of various services coming under their respective ministries.
On Thursday, speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya blamed the previous government, of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, for the issues faced by the workers and said the present government “doesn't want a confrontation with labour unions” and rather needs their cooperation and support.