New Delhi: Transportation system, including the bus and railway services, was on Wednesday severely affected in various parts of the country as trade unions called for the nationwide ‘Bharat Bandh’. The states which were worst affected by the general strike were West Bengal, Odisha, Maharashtra, Goa and Kerala.
Organised to protest against ‘anti-worker policies of the Central government, 10 Central trade unions along with different federations are participating in the day-long protest.
As part of the agitation, the protesters blocked railway tracks in Howrah and Kanchrapara in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas. CPI (M) protesters also stopped the operation of state transport buses.
In Siliguri, a North Bengal State Transport Corporation(NBSTC) bus driver was seen wearing a helmet in wake of protests during Bharat Bandh.
A number of places in Odisha including Talcher, Bhubaneswar, Brahmapur, Bhadrak and Kendujhargarh were affected by the general strike.
Trade unions participating in Bharat Bandh?
The 10 central trade unions that called for the protest include INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC.
How many people will join the strike?
Over 25 crore people will join their nationwide strike call in protest against the economic policies of the government.
What are they demanding?
The main demand of the central trade unions is that the Centre should drop the proposed labour reforms in the country. The development comes as the Centre recently passed a bill and proposed to merge 44 labour laws into four codes — wages, industrial relations, social security, and safe working conditions.
Banks supporting the strike?
AIBEA, All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF) and Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC) are joining in the protest.
About 60 organisations of students and elected office-bearers of some universities have also decided to join the strike to raise voice against increased fee structure and commercialization of education.
The Centre, has meanwhile, warned its employees not to join in the protest and said those who join will face actions.
In a missive circular issued to all central government departments, the Central government said existing instructions prohibit a government servant from participating in any form of strike including mass casual leave etc.
The circular from the Centre comes as the Supreme Court has also agreed in several judgements that going on a strike is a grave misconduct under the rules and that misconduct by the government employees is required to be dealt with in accordance with the law.
Further, amid apprehension of violence during the nationwide trade union strike today, the West Bengal government Tuesday promised an insurance cover of up to Rs 6 lakh for vehicles damaged due to violence.
Suvendu Adhikari, the state’s transport minister, said FIRs will be registered within 24 hours of such incidents taking place.