The nationwide strike, called for September 7 by major trade unions, including the INTUC affiliated to the Congress, will be the largest show of strength of the organised movement to protect the rights of workers and the ruling UPA must heed the voice of the people, Communist Party of India's parliamentary party leader Gurudas Dasgupta said on Thursday.

“Never before …has the Indian National Trade Union Congress joined the call for a strike, and its president G. Sanjeev Reddy is a party to a joint declaration adopted by nine trade unions” at a national convention here, Mr. Dasgupta told The Hindu. Despite the unions' repeated demand for effective steps to check the sharp rise in the prices of essential commodities, the Centre had not responded, Mr. Dasgupta said

On earlier occasions, the INTUC chose not to strike work arguing that it would lead to loss of production, but now decided to join hands with the other unions, he said.

While the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which owes allegiance to the BJP, pulled out, the other unions, including the CPI-affiliated All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), the All-India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), the Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC), the All-India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), the United Trade Union Centre (UTUC) and the Labour Progressive Front (LPF) have backed the call.

Besides highlighting price rise, Mr. Dasgupta said the declaration also demanded strict enforcement of basic labour laws and condemned the increasing practice of contract labour and outsourcing and disinvestment of the public sector enterprises.

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