The banking services including the private sector were impacted in many states during the all-India employees' strike on Wednesday called by 10 central trade unions to protest against the Central government's "anti-labour" policies. In some states, industrial workers including those in the state-run companies also joined the strike.
West Bengal: Protesters also block railway track in Kanchrapara,North 24 Parganas. Ten trade unions have called for #BharatBandh today against 'anti-worker policies of Central Govt' https://t.co/NkSTHTirXv pic.twitter.com/bbTf9Xydhh
— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
Bank branch activities including cash withdrawal and deposit in public sector banks in many places across the country have been affected due to the strike, reported PTI.
Most of the lenders had informed their customers in advance about the strike call given by All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA), BEFI, INBEF, INBOC and Bank Karmachari Sena Mahasangh (BKSM), and its impact on banking services.
Bank employees have extended support to the Bharat Bandh call given by 10 central trade unions, AIBEA general secretary CH Venkatachalam told PTI.
"We have been opposing government policies on bank merger, privatisation, fee hike and other wage-related issues," he said.
All India Reserve Bank Employees Association (AIRBEA) and All India Reserve Bank Workers Federation (AIRBWF) and some insurance unions have also extended support to the strike.
Trade unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC along with various sectoral independent federations and associations had adopted a declaration in September last year to go on the nationwide strike on 8 January.
The trade unions have claimed around 25 crore people are participating in the strike to protest against the government's "anti-people" policies.
Bengaluru PSU trade unions stay away from Bharat Bandh
Hundreds of city-based employees of public sector undertakings (PSU) stayed away from the day-long shutdown on Wednesday, as the protest against the Central government's 'anti-labour' laws and privatisation plans have coincided with the anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests by other organisations, reported IANS.
"As the day-long strike against the central government for its anti-labour policies and decision to privatise PSUs is coinciding with anti-CAA and anti-NRC protests, we are not participating as the latter (CAA and NRC) is not our agenda," said BEML Employees' Union convener Domlur Sreenivas Reddy in a statement in Bengaluru.
The joint action front of the trade unions' members are employees of Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited (BHEL), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Gas Turbine Research Establishment (GTRE), Indian Telephone Industries Ltd (ITI).
Trade, industry shutdown in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra, lakhs of workers from government, private sectors, banks and other establishments joined the nationwide trade shutdown called by the trade unions, including the ruling Shiv Sena.
"There is a total response in the banking and financial sectors, oil companies, central/state government, defence establishments, docks and ports, private engineering and chemical sectors, government hospitals and industrial estates, railway workers, Mathadi labour, aangandwadi employees, etc." Trade Union Joint Action Committee (Maharashtra) convenor Vishwas Utagi told IANS.
However, the response was partial in the transport sector, wholesale fresh produce markets and some shops and commercial establishments were reported to be open in some urban centres.
Banks, business establishments remain shut in Kerala
In Kerala, even though the body of the small traders and business establishments had announced they would not take part in the strike, it failed to evoke any response, as all the otherwise big markets across the state remained shut.
While banks and other private business establishments were closed, the police provided security for convoys bringing in IT employees at Technopark here and at the Infopark campus at Kochi.
What has come as a dampener for the Kerala government which is organising an investor meet spread over two days beginning Thursday at Kochi, was a statement made by Tony Thomas, Chief Information officer of Nissan, which has an IT unit at the Technopark campus here pointed out that the investor meet opens after a 24-hour total shutdown, will be sending negative vibes.
Postal staff, BSNL employees join strike in Uttar Pradesh
In Uttar Pradesh, several trade unions have extended support to the bandh call and will be participating in the strike.
Bank unions, postal staff, Life Insurance and BSNL employees have said they will join the strike. Power employees will also be boycotting work in support of their demands.
Farmers' unions have said that they will stall transportation of vegetables on Wednesday.
Work at Visakhapatnam Steel Plant affected
At Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) in Andhra Pradesh, striking employees along with leaders of trade unions and leaders of the Left parties staged a protest demonstration. Trade unions claimed that 30,000 employees of the steel plant are taking part in 'Bharat bandh'.
The protesters raised slogans of 'POSCO go back'. They demanded that the government drop plans to privatise VSP in the guise of joint venture with the South Korean steel-maker POSCO.
Coal India's output likely to be hit
Coal India Ltd's output could be affected by a planned strike on Wednesday, a senior official at the state-run company told Reuters.
"Production could be adversely affected at some subsidiaries," the senior company official said.
Coal India's December production rose after five straight months of declines, the latter reflecting the heaviest monsoon rains in 25 years, strikes and protests.
Gouranga Chatterjee, organising secretary of the coal workers unions, said production at Coal India would be affected as the striking unions have a sizeable following.
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, affiliated to Modi's party, is not participating in the strike
— With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Jan 08, 2020 11:50:44 IST