Nationwide trade union strike begins, to hit key sectors

February 28th, 2012 - 12:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) In what was expected to affect key sectors like banking, insurance, telecom, transport, mining, postal and manufacturing, crores of trade union members went on a nationwide strike Tuesday.

The strike, the largest in India since independence according to the unions, is demanding an end to contract labour, amendment to Minimum Wages Act, an increase in gratuity payout and compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days.

In all, 11 trade unions, with around eight lakh public sector employees, barring the railways, are to participate in the strike which has been supported by the trade union wings of all major parties.

Their demands also include universal social security net for all unorganised sector workers through creation of a national social security fund, enforcement of basic labour laws and stringent punitive action against violation of labour laws.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had appealed to all the major trade unions and 5,000 unaffiliated unions to call off the strike. Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge also said government was ready to discuss any kind of labour-related issues.

But the unions rejected the appeal.

Major sectors like banking, transport, postal and port operations are likely to take a massive hit due to the strike. Key industries such as steel and power may see a low turnout at factories.

Urban transport has been hit as well with auto unions joining the strike. In Delhi, even as state-run buses continue to ply, a protest is expected at the Delhi Transport Cooperation office.

The Delhi government meanwhile invoked ESMA Monday evening to ensure essential supplies like power is not affected.

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