The 48-hour national strike jointly called by Central trade unions is certain to bring life to a halt in Kerala.

The State government has decided to invoke the principle of dies non (no work, no pay) and announced strong curbs on sanctioning of leave on the two days. All government offices would have heavy security cover during the strike. The Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone all examinations and interviews scheduled for three days beginning Tuesday in view of the strike. The ongoing session of the Kerala Assembly, scheduled to continue till February 21, is being cut short and would conclude on Tuesday.

The strike, the first of its kind in several decades, has been called by the trade unions to press for urgent measures to check price rise, protection of jobs, strict enforcement of labour laws, formation of social security fund to protect workers in the unorganised sector, protection of public sector units, and amendment to the Minimum Wages Act.

Addressing a joint press conference here on Monday, leaders of the various trade unions said that all the Central trade unions, Central- and State-level teachers’ and service organisations, and unions in the banking, insurance, and various other industries would be part of the strike. “This is not a political strike, but one seeking change in the Central government’s policies which are detrimental to the interests of the working class and the common people in this country,” said the leaders, who included R. Chandrasekharan (INTUC), Elamaram Karim (CITU), Kanam Rajendran (AITUC), M.P. Chandrasekharan (BMS), Sonia George (SEWA), and M.K. Kannan (HMS).

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