Source | The Times Of India
Here’s what you need to know about the nationwide trade unions’ strike and how it will affect key sectors and services.
1. Trade unions are on a day-long nationwide strike today which will likely hit essential services like banking and public transport.
2. Workers are opposing the Centre’s “anti-labour” policies and are demanding better wages. The unions are also against disinvestment in the public sector and foreign direct investment in the Railways, Defence and Insurance sectors.
The unions claim that this year’s strike will be bigger than the one in September last year. They’ve planned demonstrations in different parts of Delhi-NCR, especially in industrial clusters like Ghaziabad, Sahibabad, and Noida. Union leaders plan to address a rally at Jantar Mantar.
The Centre has asked all ministries to ensure that public utilities and essential services are not affected due to the strike. Public sector banks have taken steps to ensure there is no cash crunch for retail customers.
The unions aren’t mollified by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Tuesday announcement that the government will release state employees’ bonuses of the last two years, and increase the minimum wage for unskilled workers.
6. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, one of the biggest trade unions, won’t participate in the strike. It has praised the government’s decision to raise minimum wages to Rs 350 a day. It is also happy with the payment of two years’ bonus to central government employees.
7. Railway services are unlikely to be affected as the employees’ unions won’t be participating in the strike. They are, though, supporting the strike and will likely hold demonstrations.
The strikers will also draw attention to inflation. They are demanding that the rise in prices be checked through a pan-India public distribution system. Growing unemployment is another concern the striking unions will flag. Their demand is that all labour laws must be enforced. They also insist that all workers get universal social security.
9. The trade unions want a revocation of the limit on the payment of bonuses and changes in the provident fund. They also want an increase in the amount of gratuity they ought to get.
10. The opposition Congress and Left parties are supporting the strike, alleging the government’s apathy towards a 12-point charter of demands. The demands include a monthly minimum wage of Rs 18,000, an assured minimum monthly pension of Rs 3,000 and a check on inflation.