Bharat Bandh: Friday Strike on as Left Unions reject Jaitley's wage hike

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New Delhi, Aug 30: The central trade unions on Tuesday refused to call off the proposed Bharat Bandh on Friday hours after Finance minister Arun Jaitley announced a hike in minimum wages for non-agricultural workers from Rs. 246 a day to Rs. 350 and agreed to some of the unions' other demands.

[Also Read: Bharat Bandh on Sept. 2: Unions refuse to call off strike]

Banks, government offices, factories, public transport to be shut on Sept. 2

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader Tapan Sen described the hike in daily wages as "status quo" and said there was "no question of calling off the strike". The unions contend that states like Delhi and Karnataka already offer better wages than that.

Arun Jaitley

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met Jaitley, Labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya and Power minister Piyush Goyal to see what the government could offer to the unions so that they called off the strike on Friday.

If the unions go ahead with the strike, banks, government offices and factories across the country would be shut. In several states, public transport will also be shut.

[RBI employees to join September 2 industrial strike]

The unions have been pressing for 12 major demands, including hiking minimum wages to Rs. 18,000 a month. One of the sticking points is also the government opening up to foreign investments in Insurance and Defence.

The bandh may not be total, however, as the RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), has decided not to be part of the strike, with its leaders, who have had special meetings with the government since July, saying the government has accepted many of the demands.

Last September, too, the BMS had withdrawn from the strike call given by the unions at the last moment.

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