The all-India strike call given by various central trade unions did not disrupt normal life in the district on Tuesday though transactions in nationalised insurance companies and banks (other than State Bank of India) were affected.

Buses and autorickshaws plied on the roads as usual and majority of the commercial establishments were open. Essential services were not affected.

The unions had called for the strike in protest against spiralling price of essential commodities and disinvestment of profit-making public sector units and and for strict enforcement of labour laws and pro-active measures for employment generation and protection of jobs.

Over 1,600 members of various unions were arrested at 11 places in the district when they staged dharna.

The strike was near success in banks and insurance companies as only a handful of employees/officials turned up for work. A large number of employees in the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited abstained from work.

However, only a few employees in post offices, Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, and other State Government offices stayed away from duty.

Leaders from various unions — B. Vickraman and V. Pitchai (Centre of Indian Trade Unions), S. Dinakara Mohan and M. Nandasingh (All India Trade Union Congress), R. Kesavan and Pather Vellai (Hindu Mazdoor Sangh), S. Mehaboob John (Marumalarchi Labour Front) and S. Muniyandi (Indian Trade Union Congress) — participated in the dharna in the city.

Members of the Southern Railway Mazdoor Union staged a demonstration on the railway premises. Its president C. Raja Sridhar, divisional secretary J.M. Rafi and divisional secretary loco running staff V. Ramkumar spoke.

Various employees' associations of banks, insurance, and State Government offices staged demonstration at different places.

At LIC office

A section of the LIC Madurai Division employees also took part in the one-day strike. They urged the Government to ensure LIC remained in the public sector, opposed increasing foreign direct investment in the insurance sector besides calling upon the Centre to withdraw the Insurance Reforms Bill. The agitators also wanted the Centre to contain the price rise of essential commodities and strictly enforce labour laws.

Around 250 employees, including 50 women from the 27 LIC branches in six districts of Madurai Division, took part in a demonstration staged in front of the Madurai Divisional Office at Sellur here, according to a press note from Insurance Corporation Employees' Union (ICEU).

G. Pushparajan, general secretary, Madurai Region General Insurance Employees Association; S. Natarajan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Government Employees' Association; M. Selvaraj, south zone secretary, LIC Agents Organisation of India (LICAOI); S. Rajagunasekar, All India Insurance Pensioners' Association; besides N. Suresh Kumar, Divisional General Secretary, ICEU, addressed the protest meeting.

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