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West Bengal: The members of Left trade union block railway track at Belgharia station in North 24 Parganas
West Bengal: The members of Left trade union block railway track at Belgharia station in North 24 Parganas

Bharat Bandh: Banking operations, transport services likely to get affected

The UP government has extended the Essential Services Maintenance Act, banning strikes in all departments and corporations under it for a period of another six months.

A day-long strike has been called today by a joint platform of ten central trade unions to protest against various govt policies. Trade unions anticipate that around 25 crore workers will participate in a nationwide strike. The Uttar Pradesh government, meanwhile, has extended the Essential Services Maintenance Act, banning strikes in all departments and corporations under it for a period of another six months.

Who all are participating?

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.

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'.

Banking services hit

Banking services are likely to get affected in various states as bank unions have also called for one day strike to join hands with trade unions. Banks like IDBI and Bank of Maharashtra have told the stock market in regulatory filings that their normal operations may get impacted due to the strike call.

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

Transport services to get affected

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.

What's the reason behind protest?

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

The demands of the joint platform include cash transfer of 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).

BMS not participating

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

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