The country is on the verge of going to a grinding halt on 2 September as many central and local trade unions with affiliations with worker associations in banks, government offices, telecom, factories and other sectors have called for a country-wide strike.
Central Trade Unions claim that over 15 crore workers are likely to participate in the strike, a Zee News report said. Even as the Centre asked all ministries to ensure that public utilities and essential services are not affected due to the nation-wide strike on Friday, the actual scenario would be clear only in the morning. Here's all you need to know about the agitation so far.
What is the strike about?
The unions have given a call for the strike to protest against the "anti-people, anti-national and anti-worker" policies of the NDA government at the Centre. They believe that the government is indifferent to the workers’ demands and effecting anti-worker changes in labour laws.
How common people would be affected?
Office goers in Mumbai will have a major sense of relief though because the Indian Railways has refused to participate in the strike. The government has already constituted a committee to look into the Railways' demand of raising monthly minimum wage from Rs 18,000 to about Rs 26,000 under the seventh pay commission. The Indian Railways run the suburban network in the city, which is also known as the lifeline of India's business capital.
No auto or cab strikes have been announced in Mumbai, reported India.com. But public transport services will surely be affected as many auto rickshaw unions in cities such as Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have decided to stay off roads.
How Centre tried to assuage the unions?
After an emergency meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Power Minister Piyush Goyal, an appeal was made to the unions to call off their strike. Jaitley also vouched that the government will release state employees' bonuses for the last two years, and increase minimum wages for unskilled labourers to persuade the Unions to cancel the strike, according to an NDTV report. But the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) rejected the government's appeals to call off the strike, saying it failed to address their demands.
How will the banking sector join the strike?
The banking sector will join the protest. "Bank unions are opposing anti-people banking reforms, privatisation of banks, closure of associate banks and merger with SBI,” All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) General Secretary Harvinder Singh said. “There is continuous attempt by the government to push their reforms agenda aimed at privatisation of banks, consolidation and merger of banks and the like,” AIBEA general secretary CH Venkatachalam said.
Will schools open?
Schools and colleges have so far not declared an official holiday, according to OneIndia and it is in now up to the local authorities to decide on the issue.
The unions have released a 12-point charter of demands, according to Centre of Indian Trade Unions. Their charter includes the demand for a monthly minimum wage of Rs 18,000, controlling price rise and assured minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000.
Dattatreya has already released a statement, claiming that the government is working positively on 9 of the 12 demands made by the trade unions. The statement concluded with a plea to call off the strike, stating that, “the journey of labour reforms will not be meaningful until we have dialogue and consultation with the labour and labour unions.”
With inputs from PTI