Nationwide Strike: 20 crore workers begin two-day strike today, Maharashtra largely unaffected

Nationwide Strike: 20 crore workers begin two-day strike today, Maharashtra largely unaffected
Workers affiliated with 10 Central Trade Unions have gone on a two-day nationwide strike from today to protest against the government’s alleged anti-worker policies

At least 10 Central Trade Unions representing around 20 crore workers began a two-day nationwide strike on Tuesday to protest against the government’s alleged anti-worker policies and unilateral labour reforms.

According to Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), the strike is visible in large industrial areas in states like Assam, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Manipur Bihar, Rajasthan, Goa, Punjab, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana.

In some states, transport departments, taxi drivers and auto-rickshaw drivers have gone on strike for two days while Railway workers are holding gate meeting bearing black badge to express their solidarity.

Some student unions, like the one from Jawaharlal Nehru University, have also expressed their solidarity with trade unions and several other institutions are expected to follow suit.

While the impact of the strike was less visible in Maharashtra, the country’s financial capital is reeling under the effects of a different disruption. In Mumbai, BEST workers have gone on an indefinite strike, leaving over 25 lakh commuters stranded.

As many as 10 Central Trade Unions (CTUs) have joined hands to go on a two-day nationwide strike from today, with over 20 crore workers across telecom, health, education, coal, steel, electricity, banking, insurance and transport sectors expected to take part.

This is the largest number of workers from formal and informal sectors joining a strike against anti-people and anti-worker policies of the BJP-led central government, Kaur said, adding that the CTUs are also opposed to unilateral labour reforms.

The unions will go on protest march from Mandi House to Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday. Similar protests would be done across the country.

The 10 CTUs which have gone on strike include INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC. While RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) will not participate, some farmers are also expected to join in.

“The government has failed to create jobs and grossly ignored unions’ 12-point charter of demands. The Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on labour issues has not called unions for any discussion since September 2, 2015 strike,” Kaur had earlier said.

In a joint statement, the CTUs had also alleged that the government undermined tripartism and continued its “aggressive attack with arrogance on the lives and livelihood of the working people.”

The unions are also opposed to the proposed amendments in Trade Union Act, 1926, saying those are irrational and extremely damaging to the independent functioning of unions.

Some are also critical of the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, alleging that the government is favouring private players instead of public sectors, citing the example of HAL in the Rafale deal.

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