The functioning of public sector as well as private sector firms was affected on Wednesday as the two-day general strike called by various central trade unions evoked good response in Prakasam district on the first day in protest against ‘anti-labour’ policies of the UPA government.
More than 30,000 workers and employees of banks, insurance companies, postal department, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, State Road Transport Corporation, municipalities and medical representatives in different parts of the district struck work in protest against loss of jobs, disinvestment from PSUs and gross violation of labour laws.
The protesters, including autorickshaw drivers, anganwadi, health and construction workers, led by Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) district president G. Srinivasulu and All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) district president Sd. Sardar and Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) president K. Ramasamy organised an impressive rally.
Their other demands included job security, social security benefits, a minimum monthly wages of Rs. 10,000 to each worker, immediate steps to check spiralling prices of essential commodities and strengthening of the public distribution system, CITU district general secretary Ch. Srinivasa Rao said.
The two-day general strike launched by a slew of trade unions with the Left lenience on the price rise evoked mixed response in West Godavari district. The election code dampened the spirit of protest among the government employees. As the NGOs were entrusted with the duties pertaining to the MLC (Graduates Constituency) elections slated for Thursday, they could not take part in the strike. Consequently, government offices functioned as usual. The National Mazdoor Union chose to stay away from the strike in the APSRTC. As a result, it hardly impacted the movement of bus services. The SC and ST Postal Employees’ Union did not associate itself with the strikers, leading the post offices to function as usual round the day.
It was a separate show for the Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). It decided to go it alone following failure of its reported attempts for a joint action with the other mainstream unions. The jute workers of the Kothur and Srikrishna mills boycotted duties under its banner and took out a rally. However, the strike impact was fully felt in the banks and the insurance offices. The unorganised workforce took an active part in the protest.