Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 21: With even the trade union affiliated to the ruling Congress joining the 48-hour strike alongwith those allied to the BJP and Left parties, Kerala is among the states worst hit by the Bharat Bandh.
The trade unions (TUs) have only exempted a few emergency services including milk supply, health care and media. Public transport was affected as buses, autorickshaws and taxis did not ply either on Wednesday or Thursday. Due to this, a majority of the staff did not turn up in government offices across the state despite the United Democratic Front government declaring 'dies non' (no work, no pay).
The strike was near total in cities and commercial establishments remained closed. The situation was not all that different in rural areas where people mostly depend on the shops in their neighbourhood but these were not open. People who ventured out of their houses for any reason did not get anything to eat as hotels and restaurants downed their shutters.
Almost all the bank employees stayed away from work. Since teachers are participating in the strike, schools and colleges had declared a holiday. The examinations conducted by the Public Service Commission have been deferred in view of the strike.
Though trains were not blocked anywhere in the state, many passengers found it difficult to reach their destination after deboarding at railway stations. Cops came to the aid of such persons and dropped them at their homes in police vehicles.
The police also helped foreigners and domestic tourists who faced a similar problem on landing at the airports in Kerala.
The TUs have put forth ten demands including immediate steps to control inflation, minimum wage of Rs 10000 a month, strict enforcement of labour laws in workplaces, end to disinvestment in public secor units, recognition for all trade unions, more job opportunities, hike in the gratuity paid to employees and pension for all workers.