New Delhi, Aug 31: A nation-wide strike on Friday, called by the Trade Unions, is imminent as trade unions have rejected the government's announcements on hiking the minimum wage and other measures.
Trade union CITU said on Tuesday that the hike in minimum wages for non-agricultural workers from Rs. 112 a day to Rs. 350 is a "mockery" of workers.
What will be closed on Sept. 2?
- These unions claim a combined membership of 15 crore workers in public and private sector enterprises, including banks and insurance companies, so the strike will definitely affect the functioning of essential services such as transport and supply of power, gas and oil.
- Services of sectors including, electricity, transport, mining, defence, telecom and insurance will be affected.
- Banks, government offices and factories will most likely be closed on Friday.
- Public transport services will also be affected as many autorickshaw unions in cities such as Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru have decided to keep off the roads on Friday.
What will be open?
- Trains services are unlikely to be affected as Railway employees have so far not indicated whether they will join the strike or not.
- Schools and colleges have so far not declared holiday officially. It is upto local authorities and institutions to decide on the matter.
- Supply of essential commodities, milk and water, however, will not be affected. Medical shops will remain open, as they have been exempted from the strike call.
Which unions are participating in the strike?
- The Leftist trade unions - INTUC, HMS, CITU, AITUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF - have called the strike.
- Workers in central public sector undertakings like Coal India, GAIL, ONGC, NTPC, OIL, HAL and BHEL will also observe strike.
- Employees of six public sector banks have also decided to join the stir.
- The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has pulled out of the strike.
What are the unions' demands?
- Unions have called the strike against "anti-worker economic policies in core sectors" and "changes in labour laws".
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Their 12-point charter of demands includes
- Minimum wage of Rs. 18,000 per month in the unorganised sector
- A stop to what the unions call "mass-scale privatisation of permanent and perennial works"
- A stop to the "onslaught on basic rights of the workers through the so-called labour law reforms"
- Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of application and immediate rectification of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions C-87 and C-98.
What the government announced on Tuesday
- The government on Tuesday announced two years' bonus for central government employees and raising of daily minimum wage for unskilled non-farm workers for 'C' category areas from Rs 112 to Rs 350
- Last year, the government had offered to raise it to Rs. 246 per day, but the proposal was not implemented.
Trade unions' reaction
- CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) on Tuesday described the government's offer of a minimum wage of Rs 350 per day, that is, Rs 9,100 per month for 26 working days, as a "cruel joke".
- "Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today told the nation that the government had accepted major demands of the trade unions. CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) considers the statement of the government nothing but a mockery meted out to workers," CITU general secretary Tapan Sen said.
- "This is a ploy by the government to mislead and confuse the workers before the strike."
- Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya on Thursday blamed the previous UPA rule for the issues faced by the workers and claimed that the present government has accomplished more than what was done in last 45 years.
- "From 2004-2014, they (the UPA government) were unable to take the issue seriously. But, it was the NDA which in the last two years has taken pro-worker decisions. More decisions have been taken in two years than what was done in the last 45 years," he said.
- "We are focused on development of working conditions, health, wage, job security and social security. In totality, the government is in a positive mode and doesn't want a confrontation with labour Union. We need their cooperation and support," the Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment said.