'IT not to be exempted from December 14 strike'
Kolkata, Dec 5: In what may be an embarrassment to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, his colleauge Subhash Chakraborty today said the CITU-sponsored nationwide strike on December 14 would cover the IT sector.
Congratulating the people for ''frustrating'' today's ''Bangla bandh'', called by the SUCI and two Naxalite factions, the Transport Minister said the proposed strike on December 14 would present a different picture.
''It will be total and the IT sector would also be brought under its purview, '' he said.
''IT is not among the 14 listed utility services and there is no reason why it should be exempted from strike, '' Mr Chakraborty, a front ranking CITU leader, said in reply to a question.
However, CITU state president Shyamal Chakraborty told UNI that any decision on the issue would be announced only two days before the strike.
The December 14 countrywide strike had been called by 56 trade unions and mass organisations, including CITU, in protest against the UPA Government's economic and industrial policies.
The comments of the maverick CPI(M) Minister, having a penchant for whipping up controversies, came amid speculations whether the ruling Left coalition would enforce strike on the IT sector, which the Government had so far protected from bandhs called by the Opposition parties.
During the Trinamool Congress-sponsored statewide bandh on October nine, the Chief Minister had issued special instructions to the administration to ensure normal functioning in the city's IT hub in Salt Lake Sector five by providing adequate security and transport.
The IT industry remained totally unaffected in the last bandh that the state witnessed on December one, called by the Trinamool Congress and also today.
The Chief Minister himself asserted that the state had one Government and the measures for the IT sector would not be different on December 14.
Though the CITU leadership was yet to make public their decision on exempting the IT industry from strike, veteran CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Jyoti Basu provided a shot to the arm of the Chief Minister, saying IT employees had the right to form a union and the sector should be accorded a status similar to the utility services as far as agitation or strike was concerned.
Speculations were rife when the Left parties helped form West Bengal IT Services Association on November 14 sending alarm among the employers, who held a meeting inviting representatives from more than 100 companies to decide strategy if strike was thrust on the 24 -hour service sector.