Bharat Bandh Nationwide union strike begins. Impacts on different sectors.
Protesters on Wednesday hit the road across the country as trade unions called for a day-long strike as part of a Bharat bandh. 10 Central trade unions have called for the strike which has support of many other organisations. The protestors’ demand during the Bharat Bandh includes the Centre to drop the proposed labour reforms.
The Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra on Wednesday extended its support to the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call. “State government supports today’s Bharat Bandh call of different trade unions, government at the Centre is an anti-labour government,” says a Congress leader.
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 PSUs.
Rail and road traffic are hit in several states including Bengal, Odisha and Tamil Nadu as a 24-hour nationwide strike by ten trade unions against the central government began this morning.
Around 25 crore workers are to participate in the countrywide protest called by the CITU against the central government. The centre’s policies and labour laws have affected 80 crore people, says the CITU.
In Bengal, several Left supporters took to train tracks starting “Rail Roko protest” this morning to support the strike call by trade unions. In Odisha, the strike affected road and rail traffic in Talcher, Bhubaneswar, Brahmapur, Bhadrak and Kendujhargarh.
Uddhav Thackeray government in Maharashtra came out in support of Bharat Bandh today. “Six months have passed since the present BJP government was formed at the centre and neither industries nor the condition of the labourers improved.”
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. Trade union leaders have claimed the government has failed to tackle challenges posed by a crisis-ridden economy.
About 15 lakh power sector employees and engineers across the country are on strike today. Power sector employees are protesting against the Centre’s amendments to the Electricity Act. They are also demanding the implementation of old pension scheme for all employees.
Police in Andhra Pradesh arrested leaders of the Left parties and trade unions as they tried to stop state-owned buses and staged road blockade on Wednesday as part of the nation-wide shutdown.
“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 are on strike for Bharat Bandh. I salute them,” says Rahul Gandhi.
Protesters in Bengal’s Malda have set the police vehicles on fire during the bandh. Bombs are hurled towards police, while the police fired rubber bullets and teargas shells to quell the protesters.
Banking services disrupted.
More than ₹22,000 crore of bank transactions including cheque and cash transactions is set to get hit throughout the day. Some 10 unions from banking and insurance sectors and around 500,000 bank officials are on strike.
Cash could not be deposited or withdrawn. Many ATMs also did not function. Cheques could not be sent to Clearing House. In the Clearing Grids, about 28 lac cheques worth about Rs. 21,500 crores could not be cleared due to the strike.
Thousands of workers and employees are participating in the nationwide strike called by the trade unions. Along with them, other organisations and left parties are actively participating in Bandh.