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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Ten central trade unions, several bank unions on nationwide strike Thursday

  • The move is likely to impact banking and insurance transactions, disrupt transport services and lead to person-day loss and production loss in companies

New Delhi: At least 10 central trade unions and several bank employees' unions will go a nationwide strike on Thursday demanding more jobs and better salary, and opposing disinvestment in profit making state-run enterprises and against the recently approved labour and farm laws.

Hundreds of their affiliate unions in states, industrial clusters, coal mines, steel sectors, manufacturing belts, and informal workers groups, farmers groups and government scheme workers are set to join the nationwide protest. The move is likely to impact banking and insurance transactions, disrupt transport services and lead to person-day loss and production loss in companies.

Formal sector workers, government employees, informal workers and farmers are coming together for this nationwide strike, said Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC). "It will be decentralized with a lot of action in state and district level. The suffering of people and government inaction is forcing us to mobilize people – they will take action against us but we are ready to fight it out."

"Have private banks contributed for employment generation, direct and indirect in the massive way the nationalised banks have done?" the All India Banks Employees' Association said in a statement. "In such employment in nationalised banks, there is reservation policy. If banks are handed over to private corporate houses, will this reservation policy not get affected."

Cyclone Nivar, which is expected to hit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts on Thursday night, is likely to mar the workers' mobilization and street protests in both the states as well as Andhra Pradesh. Besides, the covid-19 gathering restrictions in some states like Delhi will pose a challenge for the demonstrations.

Delhi Police has already appealed to farmers coming from Haryana and Punjab to not enter Delhi for the strike, and has warned of legal action in case of violations.

“We have information that Haryana and Uttar Pradesh will try their best to stop the farmers and workers from entering Delhi. They are already stopping in Haryana… we will sit on the border and all industrial clusters wherever they stop us," Kaur said. "Covid-19 was not a restriction during election rallies but it is a problem when workers protest. We understand politics of some governments but it won't hinder us."

Besides, a wider demand for more jobs, the unions are seeking a “cash transfer of 7500 per month for all poor families, 10 kg free ration per person per month to all needy, expansion of national rural employment guarantee scheme to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas and extension of employment guarantee to urban areas".

While demanding withdrawal of "anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes", the unions want the government to stop privatisation of public sector companies and corporatisation of government-run manufacturing and services entities like railways, ordinance factories and ports, and seek restoration of earlier pension facility by scrapping the contributory pension of National Pension System (NPS).

The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, a central union affiliated to RSS, is not participating in the nationwide strike.

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