Nagpur: Nearly 15 crore workers from 10 central trade unions are on a one-day nationwide protest on Wednesday against changes by the government in labour laws. The strike has adversely affected the essential services across the country.
Train services of South Eastern railway and Central Railway were normal.
The nationwide strike in the banking and insurance sector has begun on an “encouraging note across the country as per initial information we got. Employees of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), nationalised banks, old private sector banks, cooperative banks, regional rural banks are participating in the strike,” All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIEBA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam said.
The strike was called after talks with the Labour Ministry failed following disagreement over the calculation of minimum wages. The unions are also demanding the withdrawal of anti-worker amendments in labour laws and stopping the disinvestment and privatization of PSUs.
These ten unions claim a combined membership of 15 crore workers in public as well as private sector enterprises including banks and insurance companies.
Union leaders said the strike will affect the functioning of essential services like transport and supply of power, gas and oil. The Bharatiya Janata Party-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) claimed that power, oil and gas supplies will not be affected as a large number of public sector workers in these areas would not participate in the industrial action.
BMS had pulled out saying the government needed to be given time to fulfil its promises on the basic demands. The National Front of Indian Trade Unions will also stay out. Speaking on behalf of other unions, All India Trade Union Secretary DL Sachdev said that all ten central trade unions recognised by government will go on strike on Wednesday. He claimed that “many state units of BMS will also join the strike”.
Earlier on Tuesday, BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said that “a large number of public sector undertakings who are members of central trade unions are not going on strike on Wednesday.
“Thus, the services like power, oil and gas supply will not be affected. Big PSUs like NTPC, NHPC and PowerGrid will not observe strike. Therefore, the power supply will not be affected”.
Upadhyay said the National Front of Indian Trade Unions has also decided not to go on strike and wants to give some time to government, at least till the Winter Session of the Parliament, for fulfilling its assurances like uniform minimum wages across the board and enhancing wage ceiling for bonus.