trade unions strike: Trade unions go on strike; public services likely to be hit

0

NEW DELHI:
Public
services are
likely
to
be affected as central
trade
unions began a nationwide
strike
on Thursday, with a union representative saying that Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been affected the most so far due
to the agitation.

A day-long
strike has been called for by a joint platform of ten central
trade
unions, including Indian National
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),
Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC) and Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).

Others are All India Central Council of
Trade
Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and United
Trade Union Congress (UTUC).

Various independent federations and associations are also part of the joint platform.

They are protesting against the new farm and labour laws, among other workers-related issues, as well as
to raise various demands.

“The
strike has begun. Kerala and Tamil Nadu are completely shut down. Similar situation is also developing in Odisha, Punjab, Haryana, Telangana and Goa. There is also a good response
to the
strike in Maharashtra,” AITUC General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur told PTI.

BJP-aligned Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is not participating in the
strike.

Kaur informed that that the
services at banks, LIC (Life Insurance Corporation), GIC (General Insurance Corporation) and the Income Tax Department are also
likely
to
be
hit severely.

“Visakhapatnam steel plant is affected due
to the
strike. Besides, majority of workers in coal mines are also
on
strike. The work at copper plants, port and dock area are also affected. Delhi industrial areas are closed down. Workers would protest at Jantar Mantar,” Kaur said.

The united front of farmer organisations — AIKSCC — has also extended its support
to the general
strike and are mobilising their members in rural areas
to express solidarity with the striking workers.

Scheme workers, domestic workers, construction workers, beedi workers, hawkers, vendors, agricultural workers, self-employed in rural and urban areas have also decided
to come
on
to the streets for ‘chakka jam’.

In many states, auto and taxi drivers have decided
to keep off the roads. The federations of railway and defence employees have decided
to have large mobilisation
on Thursday
to express solidarity with the striking workers.

The demands of the joint platform include cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month tor all non-income tax paying families and 10 kilograms of free ration
to every needy person per month.

The
unions have also demanded expansion of MGNREGA, the rural employment guarantee scheme,
to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages and also extension of the employment guarantee
to urban areas.

They have also asked the government
to withdraw all “anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes and stop privatisation of
public sector, including the financial sector and stop corporatisation of government-run manufacturing and service entities like railways, ordinance factories, ports etc”.

Among other demands, the
unions have sought withdrawal of the “draconian circular
on forced premature retirement of government and PSU employees”.

Other demands of the
unions include ‘pension
to all’, scrapping NPS (National Pension System) and restoration of earlier pension with improvement in EPS-95 (Employees’ Pension Scheme-1995 run by retirement fund body EPFO).

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