All India Strike By Trade Unions Hits Railway Traffic In Odisha, Bengal

All India Strike By Trade Unions Hits Railway Traffic In Odisha, Bengal


Bharat Bandh: Trade union leaders have claimed the government has failed to tackle challenges posed by a crisis-ridden economy and is, instead, busy privatising and selling public sector units (PSUs).

New Delhi: Protesters holding banners and posters blocked rail tracks in Bengal this morning and raised slogans against the central government as the 24-hour nationwide strike called by ten trade unions began at 6 am. Transport services were also affected in parts of Odisha. Around 25 crore workers are expected to participate in the protest called by the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) against what they call "anti-labour policies" of the central government. The centre's policies and labour laws have affected 80 crore people, the CITU has said, as they press for fixed minimum wage and equal wage for equal work.

In Bengal, train tracks were blocked by protesters in Howrah and Kanchrapara in North 24 Parganas district. The Left has accused Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of doublespeak after the state government said it would not support the strike. In Odisha, the strike affected road and rail traffic in Talcher, Bhubaneswar, Brahmapur, Bhadrak and Kendujhargarh.


Congress's Rahul Gandhi supported the protest in a tweet. "The Modi-Shah Govt's anti people, anti labour policies have created catastrophic unemployment & are weakening our PSUs to justify their sale to Modi's crony capitalist friends. Today, over 25 crore workers have called for #BharatBandh2020 in protest. I salute them," he wrote. 


The Shiv Sena has also extended support to the trade unions in its mouthpiece Saamana. "Six months have passed since the present (BJP) government was formed (at the centre) and neither industries nor the condition of the labourers improved," Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's party wrote in the editorial. 


The trade unions have put out a 12-point charter of common demands on pay hike, minimum wage, social security and uniform five-day week among others.


A day before the strike, the government warned the trade unions of "consequences" if they joined the strike. "Any employee going on strike in any form would face the consequences which, besides deduction of wages, may also include appropriate disciplinary action," an order issued by the Ministry of Personnel said on Tuesday. 


Banking services like deposit and withdrawal, cheque clearing and instrument issuance are expected to be impacted due to Bharat Bandh. However, services at private sector banks are not expected to suffer. India's largest bank by assets, the State Bank of India (SBI), has said that the strike called on January 8 will have a "minimal impact" on its operations as the membership of its bank employees in the strike is "very few".

(Source NDTV)