Central trade unions’ nationwide strike on Day 2 causes more violence

Central trade unions (CTUs) are protesting the government’s snub of their 12-point charter of demands seeking minimum wage of Rs 18,000, social security for all workers and issue related to price rise.

New Delhi: The two-day nationwide strike by central trade unions to protest against alleged anti-worker policies and unilateral labour reforms entered its second day on Wednesday, impacting normal life in some parts of the country.

According to media reports, public transport and banking services may remain disrupted for the second day in some states.

The 10 central trade unions (CTUs) which have given a call for the two-day Bharat Bandh are protesting the government’s snub of their 12-point charter of demands seeking minimum wage of Rs 18,000, social security for all workers and issue related to price rise.

Violence in West Bengal, Odisha and Kerala

The Bengal government has directed bus drivers to wear helmets. CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty, and other protesters were detained by the police for participating in the violence.

Sporadic violence was reported in West Bengal, Odisha and Kerala on Day 1, as protesters blocked roads and obstructed train services. Tyres were burnt and buses were vandalised at many places in Bengal.

During the 48-hour strike protesters vandalised a government bus in Dinhata, Cooch Behar in West Bengal. Two people including the bus driver were injured, informed police present at the spot.

The suspected bombs found near Habra’s Ashoknagar in West Bengal has been disposed of by civil authorities as of 10.25 am. Normal services resumed over the Bangaon section after the bombs were cleared. No disruptions have been reported in Asansol and Malda divisions.

The SBI treasury branch near the government secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala was attacked by strike supporters on Wednesday. Police protection has been given to the branch manager who was manhandled and his room vandalised. 

The workers participating in the strike in Delhi will go on a protest march from Mandi House to Parliament on Wednesday at noon, and similarly protests would be seen in other parts of the country as well.

Complete bandh in Goa and Bihar

All India Trade Union Congress General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur told PTI that there will be a complete bandh in Goa and Bihar, while 100 per cent strike is expected in other parts of the country too.

She said that due to UGC exams, which started from Tuesday, some state transport departments would not participate completely in the strike in the interest of students. However, the exams are scheduled in some states on Wednesday as well.

Why Bharat Bandh?

The unions have alleged that the government has failed to create jobs and grossly ignored unions’ 12-point charter of demands. They also said that the Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on labour issues has not called unions for any discussion since the September 2, 2015 strike which left them with no other option but to go on another strike.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, the CTUs also alleged that the government undermined tripartism and continued its “aggressive attack with arrogance on the lives and livelihood of the working people.”

They are also opposed to the proposed amendments in Trade Union Act, 1926, saying those are irrational and extremely damaging to the independent functioning of unions.

Who are participating in the strike?

Around 20 crore workers of the CTU are participating in the two-day nationwide strike. Government offices, IT sector and port activities were normal on Day 1, while banking sector experienced partial impact with some branches and ATMs closed. Workers in tea gardens also had a normal day, but PSU insurance companies were closed on Tuesday.

The strike received mixed response on Tuesday, but educational institutes, rail, banking, postal and transport services are expected to witness disruption on Wednesday too.

Farming communities, through their associations, have also extended support to the strike. Student and teacher organisations of various universities have also declared support.

(With inputs from Agencies)