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Bharat Bandh hits banking, public transport services. Details here

Activists of various trade unions under the banner of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) stage a protest in support of the two-day Bharat Bandh. (PTI)Premium
Activists of various trade unions under the banner of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) stage a protest in support of the two-day Bharat Bandh. (PTI)

  • Banking and public transport services were thrown out of gear in West Bengal and Kerala
  • Electricity and fuel supplies remained unaffected but unions claimed the agitation has had an impact in coal mining belts in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh

A two-day nationwide strike starting today has been called by a joint forum of central trade unions to protest against the central government policies affecting workers, farmers, and people.

As thousands of workers began their two-day nationwide strike, banking and public transport services were thrown out of gear in West Bengal and Kerala.

While essential services mostly remained unaffected, banking services in different parts of India were partially impacted and there were reports of workers staging protests at several places across states.

Electricity and fuel supplies remained unaffected but unions claimed the agitation has had an impact in coal mining belts in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

A large section of coal workers across the country has also joined the nation-wide two-day strike, which is likely to affect the production and despatches of the dry fuel.

Coal workers who have joined the nation-wide strike have responded well and their active participation shows their dissatisfaction against the policy of the Centre aiming to destroy the existence of state-owned CIL and coal industry as whole, Hind Khadan Mazdoor Federation said.

Amarjeet Kaur, All Indian Trade Union Congress General Secretary, said that they are expecting participation of over 20 crore formal and informal workers with mass mobilisation of workers across the country.

Normal life impacted

In West Bengal, normal life was hit with protesters blocking roads and stopping movement of trains at some stations.

State road transport buses as well as auto rickshaws and private buses were off the road in Kerala but essential services, including supply of milk, hospital and ambulance services were not affected.

Public transport services were hit in Haryana as employees of state roadways joined the two-day nationwide strike.

Thousands of workers of state-owned SAIL, RINL and NMDC also joined the nationwide strike, affecting production at steel plants and mines.

Banking services were partially impacted on Monday as a section of bank employees did not report for duty. However, there was hardly any impact on the functioning of new generation private sector banks.

There might be a delay in cheque clearances and government treasury operation might also be affected by the strike.

The impact of the strike is prominent in eastern India as many branches of public sector banks there are closed, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said.

In the other regions, branches are open as officers are present but services are being impacted due to many employees participating in the strike, he said.

Bank unions are protesting against the government move to privatise two public sector banks as announced in Budget 2021-22. They are also demanding an increase in interest rate on deposits and reduction in service charges.

"The two-day nationwide strike by the joint forum of central trade unions has begun this morning and has got good response," Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), told PTI.

She said the entire coal belt (mining area) has been affected in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

According to her, there is a good response for the strike call in industrial areas of Assam, Haryana, Delhi, West Bengal, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Bihar, Punjab, Rajasthan, Goa, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

Amarjeet Kaur claimed that banks and insurance sectors have been affected all over India while steel and oil sectors were also seeing partial impact due to the strike.

As many as 10 central trade unions have joined hands to go on a two-day nationwide strike from today.

The strike notices have been given by the unions in various sectors, including coal, steel, oil, telecom, postal, income tax, copper, banks, and insurance.

A joint forum of central trade unions has given a call for a nationwide strike on March 28 and 29 to protest against the government policies affecting workers, farmers, and people.

The central trade unions that are part of this joint forum are INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC.

Their demands include the scrapping of the labour codes, no privatisation in any form, scrapping of the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), increased allocation of wages under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and regularisation of contract workers.

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