Trade unions strike hits normal life; Kerala, Karnataka most affected

PTI Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018
Tussle between activists of SUCI and police personnel at Esplanade area as Left trade unions and congress jointly called on a nationwide strike, in Kolkata , on Wednesday. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

Tussle between activists of SUCI and police personnel at Esplanade area as Left trade unions and congress jointly called on a nationwide strike, in Kolkata , on Wednesday. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty   -  Business Line

RTC runs bus services with police escort in view of general strike called by trade unions in Ongole on Wednesday. Photo: Kommuri Srinivas   -  The Hindu

Transport operators stay off roads, banking operations suffer

Normal life was affected in various parts of the country, including West Bengal and Kerala, as 10 central trade unions today went on a day-long nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs.

BJP-backed BMS and NFITU however stayed away from the strike.

Trade union leaders claimed that around 15 crore formal sector workers are on strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands.

The day long strike was seen affecting transport and banking operations among other services.

In Kolkata, partial impact was seen on suburban trains while shops, markets and business establishments in most areas remained closed.

State administration was plying a large fleet of public buses while partial impact was seen on operations of private buses and taxis.

In the National Capital, commuters faced problems as a large number of autos and taxis remained off the roads.

In Kerala, public and private bus services, taxis and autorickshaws were off the roads. Only few private cars and two wheelers were seen on the roads.

Shops, hotels and even small tea stalls were closed in the state.

The government had yesterday appealed trade unions call off the agitation in the interest of workers and nation.

The unions however decided to go ahead with strike as their talks with a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last month did not make any headway on their 12-point charter of demands.

Trade unions’ 12-point charter of demands includes urgent measures to contain price rise, contain unemployment, strict enforcement of basic labour laws, and universal social security cover for all workers and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

They are also demanding enhanced pension for workers, stoppage of disinvestment in PSUs, stoppage of contractorisation, removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund, compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days, no amendment to labour laws unilaterally, stopping of FDI in Railways, Defence etc.

Normal life partially hit in West Bengal

Bandh impacted normal life in Kolkata today. In some places protests turned violent in Bengal with bandh supporters clashing with the ruling Trinamool Congress workers and the police across different places in the State.

Clashes broke out in Berhampore in Murshidabad after Trinamool Congress supporters allegedly pelted stones on CPI(M) supporters leaving several injured. Police had to resort to a mild lathi charge there to control the situation.

Senior Left leader, Moinul Hassan is said to have been injured in the brick batting.

In Kolkata, sporadic incidents of trouble were reported across some localities like Jadavpur (once a Left stronghold). This apart, buses and other public transport remained primarily off roads to avoid damage. Most offices and shops remained shut.

Some clashes were also reported in the industrial belts of Howrah and Hooghly (in places like Konnagar).

No impact of strike in Tamil Nadu

The nationwide strike has not affected the normal life in Tamil Nadu, police said today.

Shops and commercial establishments were functioning though various trade unions were holding protests at different parts of the state, police said.

Government owned and private transport buses continued their services normally. Attendance in government offices and private establishments were also normal, it said.

All government and private hospitals also worked, it added.

Meanwhile, a Puducherry report said normal life was hit due to the strike as shops, hotels and business establishments remained closed in the entire union territory.

Though government owned buses conducted services normally, privately operated inter-state and intra-state buses and autorickshaws were off the roads.

Majority of the schools also remained closed while attendance in government offices was normal.

Trade unions owing allegiance to Left parties, Congress, DMK and a few other political parties conducted rallies and dharnas as part of the strike.

Puducherry unit CPI Secretary R Viswanathan, INTUC president G Ravichandran, CPI (M) leader V Perumal and AITUC General Secretary V S Abishegam were arrested for holding protests, police said.

No untoward incident was reported from any part of the union territory following the strike, police said.

Strike affects normal life in Kerala

The one-day affected normal life across Kerala as shops downed shutters and vehicles remained off the roads.

Public transports, including buses run by state owned Kerala State Road Transport Corporation and private operators, taxis and autorickshaws were off the roads. Only few private cars and two wheelers were seen on the roads, police said.

Shops, hotels and small tea stalls did not open in view of the strike call.

People who came from other parts of the state in trains and buses had a difficult time to proceed on their onward journey from railway stations and bus depots.

Police had made arrangements for ferrying people to hospitals and some other important destinations.

No untoward incident was reported from any part of the state so far after the strike, called by various central trade unions, commenced at midnight, police said.

To face the strike, the government had announced ‘dies non’ (no work, no pay) to its employees who participated in the strike. Security across the state was also tightened in view of the strike call.

Normal life affected in Karnataka

The day-long nationwide strike called by central trade unions today affected normal life in this IT city and other parts of Karnataka even as the state government warned against forceful imposition of the strike.

Government transport workers joined the strike objecting to the proposed motor bill as buses and autorickshaws kept off the roads causing inconvenience to office-goers and those travelling to far-off places.

People who have travelled to the city from other places were seen stranded at the railway station and bus station. Anticipating inconvenience to students, schools and colleges had declared a holiday today.

The strike affecting normal life has been reported from several parts of the state including Dharwad, Raichur, Davangere, Bellary and Hassan.

Conceding that people travelling faced inconvenience, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy said, “Things may normalise by evening.” Expressing empathy with the transport workers’ concerns, he said, “Ee too share their worry."

Karnataka Home Minister K J George has warned against forceful imposition of the strike. City Police Chief N S Megharikh said adequate security arrangements have been made to see that no untoward incident happens.

Passengers have accused private transporters of over charging, using the strike as an opportunity.

Paralyses normal life in Left-ruled Tripura

Vehicles did not ply on the roads, while markets were closed. Banks and other financial institutions, schools and colleges were closed and attendance was thin in government offices as well, officials said.

The entrance gates of ONGC facility and the Tripura Jute Mill were closed.

Strike supporters were seen picketing on the roads and CITU members organised small rallies on railway stations while train services were also severely affected.

Police said they were keeping a vigil on the situation and security forces were patrolling in different parts of the state. No untoward incident was reported from any part of the state.

Normal life hit in Goa

Streets donned a deserted look during morning hours as private buses and state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Ltd (KTCL) buses remained off the roads.

Various banks and insurance firms that have joined the stike call, also remained shut.

The situation is peaceful with no untoward incident reported in the state till now, a senior police official said. “Towns of Calangute, Ponda and Bicholim remained totally shut. All shops and transport have remained closed in support of the strike,” convenor, Goa Convention of Workers and All Goa Transport Operators Associations, Suhas Naik said.

He said the state government was trying to force employees of KTCL to run buses but the workers refused to bow down. “The strike is peaceful and we have appealed to people to maintain peace,” Naik said.

All Goa Private Bus Owners Association president Sudip Tamankar said private buses have joined the strike and will not ply till evening.

Taxi service in the state was also affected as vehicles were withdrawn since last mid night. “Taxis from airport and railway stations were withdrawn since last night. Not a single taxi was plying from morning,” secretary, North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association, Vinayak Nanoskar said.

Attendance in schools also remained thin as vehicles ferrying students did not operate.

Normal life affected in Odisha

Train services were disrupted for sometime at several places as protesters blocked tracks near railway stations like Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Bhadrak, Chhatrapur and Khalikot, East Coast Railway (ECoR) sources said.

Around 10 trains were delayed due to the stir leaving many passengers stranded at various places.

Shops, markets, business establishments, educational institutions, banks and insurance and other offices remained closed in most areas during the strike, police said.

Vehicular movement was disrupted as passenger buses, trucks and other vehicles remained off the roads with strike supporters staging road blockades in many places and holding pickets at key junctions, they said.

In the state capital of Bhubaneswar, roads wore a deserted look with agitators staging pickets at several places in a bid to prevent people from proceeding to offices and other destinations.

Similar reports were received from places like Puri, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Bhadrak, Berhampur and Balasore.

The strike remained by and large peaceful with no untoward incident reported from anywhere, police said adding elaborate security arrangements were made to deal with any eventuality during the strike.

In the port town of Paradip, loading and unloading of goods was hit at the port, while work in industrial units like IFFCO and PPL remained unaffected.

The central trade unions have called the strike to press for 12-point charter of demands including urgent steps to check price , contain unemployment, strict enforcement of basic labour laws and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

They are also demanding withdrawal of alleged anti-worker changes in labour laws and an immediate halt to disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs.

Though initially 12 central trade unions had called the strike, BJP-backed BMS and National Front of Indian Trade Unions (NFTUI) pulled out later.

Partial impact in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh

Public transport was partially affected in Punjab, Haryana and UT Chandigarh as workers’ union today joined the one-day nationwide strike.

Bank customers faced inconvenience as employees of public sector banks excluding SBI were also on strike today.

Public transport at several places in Haryana was affected as employees of Haryana Roadways also went on strike.

Under the banner of Haryana Roadways Employees’ Union, protesting employees even held rallies and demonstration at various places in the state.

Sarbat Punia, a representative of Haryana Roadways Employees’ Union yesterday said that about 4,000 buses would remain off the road today.

A report from Hisar said that a large number of passengers were stranded in Hisar, Hansi, Uklana, Barwala, Adampur and other bus stands as the vehicles remained off the road.

Commuters had to face a lot of difficulties, though private buses plied as usual, report said.

In Punjab, several employees of Pepsu Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) also held protest at various places in the state, agitating against vacant posts and outsourcing policies of the state government.

The impact of one-day strike in Ludhiana, the industrial hub of Punjab was also visible as workers owing allegiance to various trade unions took out protest rallies in the city.

Industrialists said though factories remained opened, the attendance of labour in the units was thin, which could impact overall industrial production.

However, shops, markets and commercial complexes in Chandigarh were open.Strike had a partial impact as employees of Chandigarh Transport were on strike though taxis and auto rickshaws were plying in the Union Territory.

However, electricity supply remained normal in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, though a large number of employees of electricity departments are participating in the strike.

Meanwhile, banking services in public sector banks in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh were also hit because of one-day strike. However, private sector banks remained opened.

Bank unions such as AIBEA, AIBOA, BEFI, INBOC, NOBW, INBEF and NOBO are participating in the strike, said Punjab Bank Employees Federation, Secretary Naresh Gaur.

Commuters hit hard in Delhi

Commuters had a harrowing time in Delhi today as a large number of autos and taxis remained off the roads as part of the one-day strike called by central trade unions.

People were seen waiting for hours for auto rickshaws in several parts of the city, even as public services like metro and Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) buses witnessed surge in number of passengers.

Office-goers and students were especially hit hard by the strike during morning hours.

The government had yesterday appealed to trade unions to call off the agitation in the interest of workers and nation.

The unions decided to go ahead with the strike as their talks with a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley did not make any headway on their 12-point charter of demands.

The charter of demands includes urgent measures to contain price rise, contain unemployment, strict enforcement of basic labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

Strike affects normal life in Rajasthan

Banking, transport and other services were today hit in parts of Rajasthan as a result of the nationawide strike.

Bank services were also affected as most of the branches remained closed while state roadways buses, barring in Banswara and Baran district, also did not ply causing hardship to commuters.

Trade union leaders and workers held a mass demonstration at Shahid Smarak to press for their demands.

“Most of the 4,900 buses did not ply in Rajasthan today as a result of the strike. Though several employees are working in the headquarters, operations of buses have been hit,” said a state roadways official.

Banking sector is also participating in the strike and no transaction took place in most of the branches.

Several demonstrations were held across the state today under the strike though no untoward incident was reported so far, police said.

The unions are demanding minimum monthly wage of Rs. 15,000, health care, rehabilitation of bonded labourers, regulation of working hours for domestic workers, food security, and unemployment allowance, among others.

Normal life affected in Assam

Normal life was affected in Assam today with railway tracks blocked at several places, private buses off the roads and banks remaining closed in response to the nationwide strike.

Picketeers squatted on the railway tracks at many places affecting train movement before they were removed by the security forces, they said.

Northeast Frontier Railway sources said trains operated normally after they were delayed for about half-an-hour due to the squatting.

However, flights operated as usual, the sources said.

Private buses and long distance buses kept off the roads in Guwahati and other towns though government-run Assam State Transport Corporation operated its fleet, the sources said.

While banks and financial institutions, shops and bazars remained closed in many places, offices and educational institutions reported poor attendance as students and employees could not reach their destinations, the sources said.

Large number of people were seen waiting for buses.

Meanwhile, police arrested many picketeers from different parts of the state, including Guwahati, for blocking roads and railway tracks and lodged them in temporary jails.

They however were released later, sources added.

Daily life stays normal in Bihar; banking services hit

Daily life was not much affected in Bihar today, while banking services in the state were partially hit during the country-wide strike.

Public sector banks remained closed for the day as its employees stayed away from work and staged demonstration to protest against the NDA government’s proposal to privatise these banks, Bank Employees’ Federation of Bihar General Secretary JP Dixit said in a statement.

However, private sector banks, including ICICI and HDFC, remained open in the city and elsewhere in the state.

Auto-rickshaws stayed off the road, while public transport functioned normal, official sources said.

Train services operated normally, Railway authorities said. Schools, colleges and shops remained open in the state.

Paralyses transport, banking services in AP, Telangana

Transportation and banking services in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana today came to a standstill during the day-long nationwide strike.

According to All India Bank Employees Association Secretary B S Rambabu, as many as 52,000 bank employees belonging to both the states participated in the strike. “Except a few branches here and there, over 7,000 bank branches in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana did not function. Clearing operations, cash transactions and transfers did not take place today,” Rambabu told PTI.

He said all the commercial, private, grameen and cooperative banks participated in the stir.

Public transport was paralysed in Hyderabad as the state-owned transport services remained off the roads.

Majority of the auto-rickshaws also did not ply in the city.

According to a senior official of Telangana State Road Transport Corporation, 99 per cent of the services across the state were crippled as most of the 55,000 strong workforce participated in the strike.

Only skeleton services operated in a few pockets of the state, the RTC official said.

Majority of employees belonging to various organisations and unions participated in demonstrations across the city, a trade union leader said.

Normal life was hit by the strike as Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport was unable to run full-fledged services in Visakhapatnam city.

The strike was near total in the industrial area of Gajuwaka as majority of the employees of both public and private sector companies refrained from work.

The strike was total in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, its employees union’s general secretary G Adinarayana Rao said.

All the 15 trade unions barring Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) have joined the strike, he said.

Employees of other public sector undertakings such as Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Hindustan Shipyard, Bharat Heavy Plate and Vessels Limited, Visakhapatnam Port Trust and some private companies also joined the strike.

Fails to create impact in Arunachal Pradesh

The nationwide strike failed to create any impact in Arunachal Pradesh.

All shops, business establishments, financial institutions and government offices were open and commercial as well as private vehicles plied normally in the state capital.

Evokes partial response in Jharkhand

Normal life was partially hit in Jharkhand in response to the nation-wide strike.

Shops, educational institutions and markets were open while vehicles plied on the roads.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Palamau (Range) Saket Kumar Singh said no untoward incident has been reported.

While trade union leaders claimed that the bandh disrupted work in collieries, mining officials said they would assess the impact of the strike in the afternoon. “Employees of the first shift have gone to the underground mines in the morning itself. We have to see the second shift,” an official with the Bharat Coking Coal Limited in Dhanbad said.

A senior officer with the Central Coalfield Limited in Ranchi said, “Outsourcing work is fine. We can give details only after 4 pm.”

The coordinator of the ten-union joint front, A K Jha, said the strike “completely” affected transportation and production in the colliery areas.

Bokaro Steel Plant’s Chief of Communication, Sanjay Tiwari, claimed that the strike did not have any affect and work was normal.

However, INTUC’s National General Secretary Rajendra Prasad Singh claimed that the entire coal belt has been hit by the strike. “Even the banking sector has been hit by the strike”, Singh claimed.

All India Bank Employees Association (Jharkhand unit) President, R A Singh, said that barring the State Bank of India and private banks, 1,600 bank branches and 1,200 ATMs in the state remained closed.

Bank officials were not available for their reaction.

Jharkhand Truck Owners Association president Uday Shankar Ojha said they have given moral support to the strike.

President of Jamshedpur-based Adityapur Small Industries Association President Inder Agarwal said 90 per cent of the around 1,000 industrial units in the area were functioning normally.

Police said some bandh supporters had hit the streets at Gamaria in East Singhbhum district and put up road blockade.

Bus, train services in Mumbai unaffected by strike

Transport services in Mumbai remained unaffected today, as suburban train services, autorickshaws and BEST city buses were operating normally despite the nationwide strike.

“Around 30 per cent taxis in Mumbai stayed off the roads due to the strike,” Anthony Quadros from Mumbai Taximen’s Union said.

Nitesh Rane-led Swabhiman Sanghatana union claimed it succeeded in getting maximum taxis off the road in Mumbai.

The city has around 38,000 taxis, of which close to 9,000-10,000 are believed to be affiliated to the Rane union.

General secretary of the federation of gazetted officers G D Kulthe said C and D category non gazetted government employees numbering ten to 11 lakh participated in the strike.

A and B class gazetted officers have supported the strike and have reported to work wearing black ribbons, he said.

There are 1.5 lakh gazetted officers in the state.

Published on September 02, 2015

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