Activists of trade unions take to the streets to press for their demands

Normal banking operations were hit as employees of public sector banks participated in a 48-hour strike in response to the call given by central trade unions to press for wage hike in the backdrop of rising inflation.

The 48-hour strike began in Krishna district on Wednesday with people suffering in all aspects of day-to-day life. The trade unions took out a rally from Ratham Centre, Tummalapalli Kala Kshetram to Sub-Collector's office here as part of the strike. They staged a protest in front of the Sub-Collector’s office to highlight their demands.

The employees of various public sector banks began protest at the One Town here and a massive programme was held in Gudivada also as part of the strike. The strike call was given by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), consisting of nine national-level unions, including AIBEA, NCBE, BEFI, INBEF, NOBW and AIBOC. Expecting disruption in normal banking operations, many banks had informed their customers about the proposed strike.

The staff of the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) also joined the strike. The RTC authorities, however, said that there was not much impact on the services.

In Vijayawada Region, the RTC suspended only 91 services and the buses plied as usual. The authorities, however, were clueless about the inter district and night services as drivers might not be in a position to discharge “double duties”.

The political parties, TDP, CPI, CPI(M) extended their support. The leaders, addressing the gathering at the Sub-Collector’s office, said that the UPA government has no moral right to rule the country.

The government was blatantly violating the labour acts and vigorously pursuing the anti-people policies.

The unions want the government to take concrete measures to contain price rise, to ensure employment generation, strict enforcement of labour laws, universal social security for unorganised and organised workers, halting of disinvestment in Central and State Public Sector Undertakings.

Payment of minimum wage of Rs.10,000, abolition of contract labour, removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus and provident fund were some of the other demands.

Sanitation affected

Sanitary services were hit by the 48-hour strike launched by trade unions in the city.

The sanitary staff working in Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) took part in the all India strike against the anti-labour policies pursued by the governments. Baring few, most of them joined the strike to mount pressure on the government to address their demands, including minimum wage of Rs.10,000.

As many as 3,226 people are working on contract basis for carrying out sanitation works in the city. Barring permanent workers of about 1,000, the sanitary workers in the VMC are drawn from DWCUA and CMEY groups.

The city generates nearly 550 tonnes of garbage daily. Of this, more than 300 tonnes is generated from households, which come straight on to the dumper bins placed at vantage points in the city. A total of 400 dumper bins are located across the city.

Though the corporation cleared the dumper bins on main roads and important junctions during night sweeping on Tuesday itself, the garbage on connecting roads, arterial roads and internal roads could not be cleared.

Municipal Commissioner G. S. Pandadas convened a meeting with sanitary inspectors and asked them to ensure that every sanitary worker was on duty.

The strike should not pose any problem to the citizens, he said. Disciplinary action would be initiated against the workers who has not turned up to their duties, adding, “Priority would be given to workers, who joined duties during strike period, in welfare schemes being implemented by the government.”

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