Most unions demonstrated in front of the Town Hall

The Town Hall seemed to be the hub of protests on the first day of the all-India strike called by trade unions here Wednesday to protest against the price rise and anti-labour policies of the Union government.

The protestors were responding to the call by the Joint Committee of Trade Unions. Members from several labour organisations and trade unions, including Karnataka Workers’ Union, Indian National Trade Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, All India Trade Union Congress, All India United Trade Union Congress and Trade Union Coordination Committee participated in the demonstration.

Their main demands were measures to curb the spiralling prices of essential commodities, universalisation of the public distribution system (PDS), fixing Rs.10,000 a month as minimum wages and Rs. 3,000 as minimum pension from the provident fund scheme, abolition of contract labour system and strict implementation of labour laws.

Hundreds of members of the Karnataka United School and Light Motor Vehicle Drivers’ Union staged a protest at Town Hall, along with the other unions. According to union president Shanmugam, the union backed the strike call even as it pushed its own demands such as permits for vehicles with fitness certificates and parity of tax structure for private vehicles hired by parents and the school-owned vehicles. Union members later met with the Secretary of the Transport Department and submitted a memorandum.

Members of the Bangalore Organised Travels Association took out a protest rally from the Srinagar bus stand to Ramakrishna Ashram Circle.

According to general secretary B.R. Suresh, around 150 owners of travel vehicles participated, while another 60 took out a two-wheeler rally. “With the frequent increase in diesel rates, tour operators are suffering huge losses. The increasing tax and insurance rates are also affecting us. We hope that with the strike our grievances are heard and our demands to reduce the tax and insurance rates,” he added.

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