New Delhi: On a day when trade unions claim that nearly 150 million workers are on a nationwide strike, labour and employment minister Bandaru Dattatreya is flying out of the country to attend the G-20 meet in Turkey.
“I am flying out (by noon) Wednesday for a meeting in Turkey," Dattatreya said. He said the labour secretary Shankar Aggarwal has already left for Turkey.
Finance ministers of G-20 countries will meet their counterparts and central bankers for a two-day meet on 4-5 September. A joint meeting of finance and labour and employment ministers will be held on Friday.
Dattatreya said the labour ministers of the G-20 nations will discuss development of social security and ways to enhance its impact for a larger audience. The labour and employment ministers will talk about poor job scenario in the world and discuss with finance ministers on how to spur growth and generate more jobs.
But trade unions, which are on a strike against government’s labour reform policies, criticized the government and the minister for ignoring labour welfare.
“This shows government’s attitude. The minister flying out is an indication of how they take such strikes—they are totally indifferent," said D.L. Sachdeva, national secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, a national union affiliated to the Communist Party of India.
Some 150 million workers are likely to be on strike on Wednesday and it is likely to affect services ranging from banking to transport, coal production to port movements in several parts of India.
In New Delhi, majority of autorickshaws and taxis stayed off roads, affecting office-goers. Some of the private bus operators too were off roads. In parts of the city, essential services like milk and vegetable supply were affected, while some bank ATMs have run out of cash.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and independent National Front of Trade Unions (NFITU) have boycotted the strike.
In states, most labour unions are on strike.
“We have made all efforts to persuade unions to not go on strike as it will affect both workers and industries. But they did not listen," Dattatreya said.