Bharat Bandh: Two-day trade union strike from tomorrow

2:37 PM, Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Bharat BandhNew Delhi: The stage appears set for a mega two-day trade union strike starting Wednesday after union leaders failed to arrive at a consensus in talks with the government.

The strike called by country’s 11 registered trade unions, cutting across party lines, will start from Tuesday midnight to protest against the “anti-people” policies of the UPA Govt that include price rise, poor implementation of labour laws and disinvestment in PSUs/increased FDI in various sectors.

Pensions for everyone along with removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund are among the demands raised by the unions. Apart from all the 11 trade unions, over 2000 independent unions have also joined the protest.

The strike has been called jointly by the Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), All India Trade union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and other such organisations.

Given the scale of the mega-strike, normal life is likely to be hit in many parts of the country, with major sectors like banking, transport, ports, power and telecom have agreed to join the protest call.

With some state governments like in Odisha, Bihar, Karnataka among others deciding to support the strike, the two-day strike will hit common people severely. The railways and air services are expected to function normally as they are not part of the strike.

A worried government reached out the union leaders. Yesterday, trade union leaders met a government committee comprising AK Antony, Sharad Pawar and Mallikarjun Kharge.

After the meeting, CITU president A K Padmanabhan said, “The government has nothing to offer. We are going ahead with the strike. We expect it to be hugely successful.”

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also made an appeal to all the trade unions to withdraw their call for a strike as it would cause loss to the economy and inconvenience to general public.

The UPA government has also warned employees of “consequences” including deduction in wages and disciplinary action if they take part in the protest.

In a stern directive, the Department of Personnel and Training has written to secretaries of all central government ministries not to sanction any kind of leave to employees during the period of the proposed strike.

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