Essential services such as banking and public transport are likely to be hit on Friday as trade unions go on a nationwide strike to protest the government’s alleged “indifference“ to their demand for better wages and “anti-worker“ changes in labour laws. Railway services will not be affected.
Rejecting the Centre’s appeal, the unions said this year’s strike would be bigger than the one on September 2 last year. Demonstrations would be held in Ghaziabad, Sahibabad, Noida and all districts of Delhi, especially industrial clusters, and union leaders would address a rally at Jantar Mantar. One of the biggest unions -RSS-affil iate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh -has opted out of the strike, lauding the government’s decision to raise minimum wage to Rs 350 per day and payment of two-year bonus to central government employees. But trade unions backed by the Left and Congress have decided to go ahead with the strike, alleging government apathy towards their 12point charter of demands, including a monthly minimum wage of Rs 18,000, assured minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000 and a check on inflation.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya’s statement on Wednesday about the government’s commitment to fair earnings and social security for workers was a deliberate “misinformation campaign“ to create confusion and to sabotage the strike. CITU also slammed BMS for accepting the government’s “meagre“ hike in minimum wages.
“How could a trade union worth its name accept such a mockery on their genuine demand formulated on the basis of a formula accepted by the central government also? BMS may consider this mockery of offer a `historic achievement’ owing to their compulsion, but others cannot,“ CITU said.