Industrial strike in Bengal

Ipsita Pati
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Bank employees taking part in a rally on the second day of the strike in Kolkata on Thursday.
Bank employees taking part in a rally on the second day of the strike in Kolkata on Thursday.

Though life returned to normal in West Bengal on Thursday, the second day of the two-day all-India strike called by 11 Central trade unions, industry continued to be partially affected.

As transport services were exempted from the purview of the strike in the State in view of International Mother Language Day, taxis, buses and mini-buses were back on the streets in their usual numbers. Government offices and shops were open even though some commercial establishments and banks remained closed. There was no report of any violence in the city.

Claiming that the people of the State had rejected the strike call for the second day, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote on her Facebook page: “It is really very laudable that (the) long lost ‘work culture’ has now started to come back in our State. This will definitely help Bengal (to) move forward in the days ahead.”

The strike call had been rejected “spontaneously” and “in an overwhelming manner”, she wrote.

Trade union leaders, however, said that after a very successful general strike on Wednesday, the State observed an industrial strike on the second day, one that evoked considerable response from industrial workers and bank employees.

“Most the factories and banks remained closed. The response of factory workers was spontaneous even though the transport sector was exempted from the strike,” Shyamal Chakraborty, president of the State unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), told The Hindu over telephone from New Delhi.

“The industrial strike is a success in the State. Members of trade unions and workers who were observing a peaceful strike were attacked at several places in the State by Trinamool Congress supporters who were instructed by the Government to do so but did not affect the success of the strike,” he added.

Stating that the strike on Thursday was successful, All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) State Secretary Ranajit Guha said: “Most of the commercial establishment were closed on the second day of the strike. Workers in jute mills, tea gardens, banks, coal mines and various factories participated in the strike despite threats made by the State Government”.    

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