Over 11 lakh workers and 15,000 unions participated in the countrywide general strike called by 10 central trade unions on Wednesday which hit essential services including banking and insurance, transport, port and dock operations, coal mining and manufacturing units.
CPI(M) and Trinamool Congress workers clashed here during the general strike called by trade unions. Nearly 200 persons were arrested from different parts of the state.
According to labour leaders, this is the 16th country-wide strike since policies for economic liberalisation started in 1991. The last time workers struck work was in February 2013 when trade unions had called for a 48-hour strike against the government’s anti-worker policies.
With Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Labour Secretary Shankar Agarwal away to attend the G-20 labour minister’s conference, the labour ministry remained silent on the impact of the strike but trade unions leaders have termed it a “grand success”.
“All workers have participated in it. Transport services are completely on strike in most parts of the country. Workers have struck work even as public sector undertakings,” said AK Padmanabhan, president, Centre of Indian Trade Unions.
Many production units are understood to have announced a holiday for workers while workers in the industrial belt in Gurgaon-Manesar have also participated in the strike. Civil defence operations also participated in the strike while railway unions are understood to have participated in demonstrations. The strike in West Bengal was only partly successful.
A number of shops and establishments as well as informal sector workers also participated in the strike.
Agreed AD Nagpal, general secretary, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, “The strike has been successful. We hope that the government will now take up workers’ issues more seriously.”
However, the Indian National Trade Union Congress on Wednesday decided to pull out of the strike in the “national interest”.
“A strike will be dangerous for the political and economic situation,” said Ashok Chaudhari, national president, INTUC.
RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and National Front of Indian Trade Unions had already withdrawn from the strike to give the government time to deliver on its promises.
Central trade unions including INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF decided to go on the strike after talks over a 12 point charter of demand including minimum wages, universalisaiton of social security and withdrawal of policies on FDI and disinvestment failed last week.