Nagpur News : Trade unions in various sectors — including transport, banking, construction and public sector undertakings — will participate in a two-day nation-wide strike on February 20-21 to protest the Centre’s inability to tackle issues of inflation, unemployment and labour law violations.
The protesting unions will also hold rallies at Azad Maidan and in Bandra during those days.
Auto drivers, taxi drivers, airport employees and hawkers are also expected to participate in the strike.
A two-day Bharat bandh is expected to hit the supply and availability of essential commodities across India.
The Maharashtra government may invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act against erring union leaders to prevent the city from coming to a standstill during the two days.
Some media reports claimed that the transport unions in the state had called off their strike on February 21 in view of the HSC examination scheduled on that day.
However, on February 20, autos and taxis are expected to stay off the roads.
In Mumbai , Union leaders have threatened to block the railway tracks to prevent local trains from plying. Railway authorities have responded by saying that those trying to disrupt the movement of local trains would be arrested by the railway police.
Union leaders have claimed that unions in the BEST bus service will also joint the bandh.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has offered talks and appealed to trade unions to withdraw their proposed countrywide strike.
“I appeal to the central trade unions to withdraw their call for a countrywide general strike on February 20 and 21. Such a strike would lead to avoidable loss to our economy and inconvenience to the public through disruption of services,” Dr Singh said in his message.
Dr Singh also pointed out that some of the issues raised by the trade unions are already being acted upon and others are at various stages of consideration.
“While some of the issues raised by the trade unions are already being acted upon and others are at various stages of consideration, I have requested my senior Cabinet colleagues A K Antony, Sharad Pawar , P Chidambaram and Mallikarjun Kharge to together hold discussions with the leaders of the Trade Unions,” he added.
He expressed confidence that the discussions will result in the course of action that is acceptable to both the trade unions and the government.