Central Ministers had urged the unions to postpone strike without resolving their demands

Despite the Union government’s last-ditch dissuasive attempt, the 11 central trade unions on Tuesday made elaborate countrywide arrangements to launch a two-day general strike from Wednesday.

The strike is meant to press the unions’ 10-point charter of demands such as control of inflation and price rise, adequate social security for the unorganised sector workers and fixing of minimum wage at Rs.10,000 a month.

The strike is likely to have its impact on the functioning of banks (including the Reserve Bank of India), port and dock works, public transport such as autos, taxis and government/private buses, insurance firms, power sector companies, coal and oil industries, post and telecom sector, offices of the State/Central governments, industrial sectors, and State/Central government undertakings.

As various chambers of commerce and industries’ federations feared that loss to the economy during the strike could be around Rs.20,000 crore, president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), labour wing of the ruling Congress, G. Sanjeeva Reddy told The Hindu that the unions had no option but go on strike after giving a long rope to the government.

Even during the talks held by Central ministers A.K. Antony, Sharad Pawar and Mallikarjun Kharge with the unions here on Monday, there was no concrete formula to meet the unions’ demands. They, instead, asked the unions to postpone the strike first and said the demands could be talked out later. “But we said ‘no’,” Mr. Reddy said.

CPI MP and AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta felt sorry for the inconvenience the strike might cause to people. “But what else we can do to take up the social cause as this government is not listening and is very insensitive to the sufferings of the masses and the working class,” he said.

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