Normal life is likely to be hit as Central Trade Unions on Monday said around 20 crore workers will go on a two-day (January 8-9) nationwide strike from Tuesday to protest against the government's alleged anti-worker policies and unilateral labour reforms. "As many as 10 Central Trade Unions (CTUs) have joined hands to go on a two-day nationwide strike from tomorrow. We expect 20 crore workers to join the strike. This is the largest number of workers from formal and informal sectors joining the strike against anti-people and anti-worker policies of the BJP-led central government," Amarjeet Kaur, general secretary of AITUC, told reporters in a joint press conference of the 10 CTUs.
She said sectors like telecom, health, education, coal, steel, electricity, banking, insurance and transport among others are likely to support the strike. "We will go on protest march from Mandi House to Parliament in New Delhi on Wednesday. Similar protests would be done across the country," she said.
Here’s all you need to know about two-day nationwide strike:
# The general strike has been called by the central trade unions demanding fulfilment of a 12-point charter of demands including inflation control, minimum monthly salary of Rs 18,000, equal pay for equal work, social security provisions, discontinuation of foreign investments in railways, banks and insurance sectors and jobs for unemployed youths, among others.
# The 10 CTUs going on strike include INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC. RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) will not participate.
# "The government has failed to create jobs and grossly ignored unions' 12-point charter of demands. The Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on labour issues has not called unions for any discussion since September 2, 2015 strike. This has left us with no other option but to go on strike," Kaur said.
# In a joint statement, the CTUs also alleged that the government undermined tripartism and continued its "aggressive attack with arrogance on the lives and livelihood of the working people."
# They are also opposed to the proposed amendments in Trade Union Act, 1926 saying those are irrational and extremely damaging to the independent functioning of unions.
# The unions claim that farming communities through their associations have also extended support to the strike. Student and teacher organisations of various universities have also declared support, the statement said.
Schools, colleges closed in Odisha
# All educational institutions including schools, colleges and universities in Odisha will remain closed on Tuesday in view of the two-day nationwide strike called by central trade unions. A notification to this effect was issued by the Higher Education department on Monday.
# "All schools in the state will remain closed on Tuesday due to the general strike called by central trade unions. The decision regarding the closure of schools on Wednesday will be taken tomorrow, said School and Mass Education Secretary PK Mohapatra.
# The state's BJD government and its trade union front -- Biju Sramika Samukhya (BSS) -- have extended support to the two-day nation-wide strike.
Tripura Govt to oppose
# The Tripura unit of the BJP said on Monday it would oppose the nationwide strike. Pratima Bhowmik, the general secretary of Tripura BJP, said the strike would inconvenience common people.
# She also requested the state government to alert the police and the administration and ensure that the supporters of the strike do not harm people or damage vehicles and destroy properties of government or private firms.
Karnataka likely to be affected
#Normal life is likely to be affected in the city and several parts of Karnataka on Tuesday, with state transport buses likely to stay off the roads. Hence, commuters, office goers who use the service may face the brunt.
# However, the metro service in Bengaluru, as also auto and taxi service, are likely to function as usual.
# Hotels, malls and film theatres are also likely to function as usual, with their unions extending "moral" support to the strike.
# Bank services are likely to be disrupted.
# District administrations have been given the authority to declare a holiday for schools and colleges depending on the situation there. Some universities have defered the examinations.
Enough is enough, no bandh in Bengal: CM Mamata Banerjee
# West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claimed that trade unions called general strike would have no impact in the state.
# "I do not want to spend a single word on this. In WestBengal, we have taken a stand of not supporting any bandh. Enough is enough. In the last 34 years, they (Left Front) have destroyed the state by calling bandh. There will be no bandh," Banerjee told reporters at the state secretariat.
BEST employees firm on strike
# Around 29,000 employees of the civic run transport service BEST are going on an indefinite strike beginning from Monday midnight for various demands despite an industrial court restraining them from taking the step.
# Due to the strike, around 25 lakh passengers who travel by 3000 BEST buses that ply on streets of Mumbai city and the metropolitan region every day will be inconvenienced, a union official said late night.
SBI likely to remain operational
# The banking sector may only see a partial shutdown on the two-day general strike called by central trade unions on January 8 and 9, a banking union official said on Monday.
# The State Bank of India (SBI), the country's largest bank with 85,000 branches, is likely to remain operational on the two days, along with a few other nationalised banks, the official said.
(With PTI inputs)