Normal life in the city was partially hit on Tuesday by the general strike called by the central trade unions in support of their demands. The trade unions called a general strike against price rise, violation of labour laws and disinvestment of public sector units.
Except a few, all schools functioned as usual, while government offices, barring the ones like the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC), functioned with thin attendance. Petrol pumps, shops and other business establishments remained open and all modes of transport, barring a few autorickshaws, were available. There was no disruption of train and bus services. No untoward incident was reported in the city.
The trade unions stated that food inflation was running in double-digits and the government's easing of subsidies to rein in its budget deficit were stoking discontent. The activists of the unions earlier in the day took out an impressive rally from Ratham centre to the Sub-Collector's office.
AITUC State working president T. Lakshminarayana stated that the workers and employees participated in the strike in a big way across the State. The employees of Singareni open cast mines, banks, LIC, GIC, BSNL, defence, BHEL, ECIL, Visakha steel, Visakha Port and the like participated in the strike, he claimed, adding that the workers were demanding implementation of Social Security Act, withdrawal of the idea of disinvesting the PSUs and initiating effective measures to strengthen banking and insurance sectors in the country. The employees and workers would intensify the stir if the government did not respond, he said. “Chalo Parliament would be organised soon, he added.
Following the call for general strike given by the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), the banks remained closed at many places in the city. The bankers participated in the strike to protest against a host of issues, including foreign direct investment in public sector banks and entry of foreign banks.
Insurance Employees Union Machilipatnam division organising secretary Gurram Srinivas stated that the insurance employees participated in the strike following a call given by All India LIC Employees Federation. The Supreme Court directed the Central government to distribute essential commodities lying in the FCI warehouses for the poor and the downtrodden. However, the government was not ready to take necessary measures and streamline Public Distribution System, he alleged.