Normal life was disrupted in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh today due to the nationwide strike called by the Central Trade Unions in support of their various demands including steps to control price rise and strict enforcement of labour laws.

The impact of the strike was felt on public transport services as a majority of State-owned buses plying on inter-State routes in Punjab and Haryana remained off the roads.

“We are not seeing the arrival of buses from Punjab and Haryana (operating on inter-State routes),” said T.P.S. Phoolka, Director-Transport, Chandigarh Transport Undertaking.

However, he said CTU buses were plying normally in Chandigarh.

Punjab Transport Secretary Mandeep Singh said the district administration would have to ensure that public transport services are not hampered in any part of the State.

Medical services

With the strike call threatening to cast its shadow on medical services, Post Graduate Institute of Medical, Education and Research (PGIMER) said that a contingency plan had been put in place to prevent any adverse impact of the nationwide strike.

About 2,000 contractual labourers and safai karamcharis of the hospital have threatened to observe the strike. PGI authorities said they had asked their permanent staff to perform the duties of striking workers to prevent any disruption in medical services.

“We have asked our permanent staff to perform the duties of striking workers. We have also warned them (striking employees) that no work no pay rule shall be implemented in case they join the strike,” PGIMER spokesperson Manju Wadwalkar said here.

Banking services

Banking services in public sector banks will also be hit as bank employees, including officers, are also observing a two-day strike in protest against banking reforms, outsourcing etc.

“Employees of all public sector banks as well as old private banks will observe strike and the banking transactions will be impacted,” said Naresh Gaur, Secretary, Punjab Bank Employees’ Federation.

Protesting employees have planned to hold demonstrations and rallies across Punjab and Haryana to press their demands.

Production loss

Meanwhile, medium and large-scale industries in Punjab and Haryana have expressed fears of production loss because of the two-day strike.

“There may be loss of production... (though) we will try to continue our production lines. But it will depend on how many workers come during the strike,” Director of Hero Cycles S.K. Rai had said yesterday.

Punjab has about 1.70 lakh small-scale units, while Haryana has 1,212 large and medium industries.

‘No Work No Pay’

Toughening its stance against protesting employees, the Chandigarh Administration had asked the workers of electricity department not to observe the two-day strike call given by the Central Trade Unions.

Advising the employees to stay away from the strike, the Chandigarh Administration warned that in case of workers going on strike, the principle of ‘No Work No Pay’ shall be implemented.

CITU Punjab General Secretary Raghunath Singh said workers would not allow the functioning of factories, brick kiln units, public transport, electricity, trucks, saying that they would not join duty.

The unions are demanding urgent steps to control price rise, strict enforcement of labour laws in all places of work, social security net for workers in the unorganised sector, end to disinvestment in PSUs and raising the minimum wage to Rs 10,000.

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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