10 cr workers threaten to pause India in massive strike

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New Delhi, Feb 28: In spite of various consultations and discussions, India will witness a complete shut down of services in a massive strike called by trade unions and government employees. As many as 11 trade unions panning party lines together with 8 lakh public sector employees will participate in this mammoth strike. Banking, transport and government services are likely to take a hit across the country, especially those in the metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata.

The Unions have raised issues of rising prices, disinvestment of profit-making PSUs and the violation of labour laws that are considered reasons for calling the strike. Among the major unions who will participate in the strike are Congress-affiliated INTUC, Shiv Sena-backed Bharatiya Kamgar Sena and UPA ally Indian Union Muslim League's trade-wing STU.

AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta has been quoted as saying, "This a historic occasion as for the first time all the major trade unions irrespective of political affiliations are coming together to protest anti-labour polices of the government." Union leaders stated that 5,000 small unions have decided to support the strike.

In spite of meetings with PM Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, the union leaders stood adamant in their demands and went ahead with the strike which is considered the biggest since Indian independence. Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge had also urged the unions to call off the strike.

Delhi chose to play it safe in view of the strike to impose the Essential Services Maintenance Act on all power companies in the city to ensure that there is no disruption in electricity supply in the national Capital. A statement from the CM office said, "Delhi government has clamped ESMA on all power companies including generation, distribution and other power companies in view of the proposed strike tomorrow."

Banking, telephone and transport services are likely to take a hit with a complete shutdown of essential services to be experienced in Assam, Kerala, Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Bihar. The predominantly Left sponsored bandh will have more impact in West Bengal and Kerala. There will however be no affect of the strike on the Indian Railways operations.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has warned all government employees from participating in the strike, which she consider is Left sponsored. She has warned of dire consequences if her order is violated.

OneIndia News

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