Bharat Bandh: All you need to know about trade union strike and their demands

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New Delhi, Sept 2: Essential services like banking and public transport likely to be affected as trade unions have called for a strike on Wednesday (September 2).

Read more: Live updates: Unrest in Kolkata, bandh hits transport in Telangana

This will be first strike against incumbent Modi led NDA government which has appealed unions not to go ahead with the strike. All you need to know about the Bandh.

Bharat Bandh

Why the strike

  • Trade Unions are protesting against Government for making changes in labour laws
  • Reportedly, the trade unions are unhappy over the anti-worker economic policies of the BJP Government

What will be affected?

  • As ten trade unions claim to have a combined membership of 15 crore workers in public and private sector, it will definitely affect public services.
  • As per reports most affected sector includes coal, power, cement, textiles, oil, aviation, banks, insurance and post office. 
  • The banking and public transport will be most affected.
  • Gurudas Dasgupta, General Secretary, All India Trade Union Congress said that Railways won't be affected by the strike.

Who all are participating in the Bandh

  • Initially strike was called by 11 trade unions including Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh(BMS).But RSS led Mazdoor Sangh backed out later saying that it wants to give government some time to ponder over its decision.
  • BMS also appealed others to reconsider their decision of Bharat Bandh and give government some time to stand up on our expectations.
  • Rejecting Government, BMS appeal, 10 unions are participating in the all India strike.
  • These are CITU, INTUC, AITUC, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF. 
  • All-India Bank Employees' Association and coal unions may join 10 trade unions in their protest.

What are unions' demands?

  • Trade unions decided to go ahead with the strike after their talks with a group of senior ministers last week failed.
  • It is being said that Unions are against the labour reforms made by the Centre.
  • Government led Committee had recently proposed to significantly increase minimum wages and make them mandatory across the country. 
  • Unions have total 12-points charter of demands, including withdrawal of the proposed changes in the labour laws and stopping the disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs.
  • Reportedly, the Unions demand an increase in the bonus ceiling as well as widening the coverage of health insurance and provident fund.
  • The health insurance and provident fund should include construction as well as workers in schemes such as aanganwadis.

What is stand of Government?

  • Appealing not to go ahead with Bharat Bandh, the government has indicated that the talks with trade unions will continue.
  • Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya said he expects the impact of the strike to be minimal.
  • "I don't think essential services will be affected by the strike. I feel that the impact will not be much. I appeal them to call off strike in the interest of workers and nation".
  • He further said, "We don't want any confrontation with trade unions. The workers' rights and interests are supreme to us. We will continue talks with trade unions even after tomorrow's strike." 

Other reactions

Virjesh Upadhyay, General secretary, BMS said

  • "We are happy with the government's initiative to come forward and listen to unions in such a creative and aggressive manner".

All-India Defence Employees' Federation general secretary C Srikumar.

  • "The All-India Defence Employees' Federation and its affiliated unions have already served a strike notice to the government on August 14 and we will join the September 2 national strike".

Gurudas Dasgupta, General Secretary, All India Trade Union Congress

  • "Government doesn't discuss taxation with us. The government never said our demands will be accepted."
  • On Mazdoor Sangh's stand he said, "The impact of BMS pullout will be minimal on the strike on September 2. The decision of BMS is political." He further accused the government of 'playing fraud' and said BMS had become a 'victim of the fraud'.
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