Bus and train operations not hit; shops remained open; work paralysed in banks and insurance companies

The two-day nationwide strike called by central trade unions was marked by demonstrations, rally, and picketing bid by union members here on Wednesday even as normal life remained unaffected on day one.

With town and long distance buses and trains operating as usual and shops and commercial establishments unaffected in the city and elsewhere in the district, it was business as usual though works were completely paralysed in public sector banks and insurance companies as employees joined the strike in support of their charter of demands.

Eleven central trade unions including CITU, INTUC, AITUC, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, and Hind Mazdoor Sabha had called for the 48-hour strike from February 20 pressing their 10-point charter of demands including control of inflation and price rise, fixation of minimum wage at Rs.10, 000 a month, social security for workers in unorganised sector, withdrawal of new pension scheme and sale of shares of public sector undertakings.

Cutting across party lines, members of various trade unions took out a rally from the Vestry School circle to the Collectorate where they staged a demonstration in support off their demands.

Members of Labour Progressive Front (LPF), CITU, INTUC, BMS, and AICCTU took part in the demonstration that was led by M.R.Mayazhagu, state secretary, LPF. CITU state secretary R.Raja and office bearers of other unions participated.

A section of members of the AITUC who attempted to indulge in picketing near the Chathram bus stand in the city and at Vaiyampatti, Manapparai, Somarasampet, Lalgudi and Thuraiyur were arrested. Those held were later released in the evening.

Bank employees staged a demonstration in front of the Indian Bank zonal office, while insurance employees staged a demonstration in front of the Career Agents branch of LIC at Othakadai.

Work in public sector insurance companies were completely hit as class III and IV employees of LIC and General Insurance Corporation and members of LIC Agents Organisation of India participated in the strike. There was no policy servicing and cash transaction in the insurance offices, said L.Jones, vice president, Insurance Corporation Employees Union, Thanjavur division.

Normal operations were completely hit in all public sector banks in the district as employees and officers struck work, said K.Gurumurthy, State vice president, Bank Employees Federation of India, Tamil Nadu. Employees of some private sector banks such as Lakshmi Vilas Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, and South Indian Bank also joined the strike, he added.

As a precautionary measure, police personnel were deployed at various places.

BHEL hit

The strike affected the functioning of BHEL, Ordnance Factory, Heavy Alloy Penetrator Factory, and the Golden Rock Railway Workshop.

Responding to the strike call by All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisation, members of JAC-TANSTSAC (Joint Action Council of College Teachers and Tamil Nadu Non-Teaching Staff of Aided Colleges) staged a demonstration in front of the office of the Regional Joint Director of Collegiate Education. The demonstration was led by K. Pandiyan, State President of AUT.