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On Day 2, labour strike leaves State paralysed again

Special Correspondent
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Asserting their rights:Members of the joint action council of trade unions taking out a march in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.— Photo: S. Mahinsha
Asserting their rights:Members of the joint action council of trade unions taking out a march in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday.— Photo: S. Mahinsha

The 48-hour strike called by Central and State-level trade unions and employees in various industries ended on Thursday midnight after crippling life in the State for two days.

Vehicular traffic was less than that on the first day in many parts of the State, possibly because of the stray incidents of violence on Wednesday. Shops, markets, banks and commercial establishments remained closed. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) did not operate any service and long-distance travellers by trains had a difficult time.

The government claimed improvement in attendance on the second day of the strike. An official press note put the attendance in government offices at 44 per cent, up from 40 per cent on Wednesday. At the Secretariat, the attendance was 65.7 per cent. One significant aspect of the strike on Thursday was the poor attendance in the information technology sector, with Infopark in Kochi reportedly having only around 35 per cent attendance.

Reports of isolated incidents of violence came on Thursday as well, many of these involving State employees and teachers reporting for work and those on strike. Miscreants threw used engine oil at the manager of the District Industries Centre at Nagambadom in Kottayam. The Kottayam (East) police have taken one person into custody.

The Kanjirapally police have registered a case against 20 persons when strike supporters tried to disrupt the functioning of the Supplyco outlet at Kanjirapally and lay siege to its woman manager.

Workers in plantations, farms, construction and fishery industries struck work across the State. The strike hit baggage movement and cleaning at the Calicut International Airport, Karipur, as contract workers kept away from duty. Eight persons, including two children, sustained injuries when a group of strike supporters blocked and attacked a car transporting a family to the airport, at Puthiyanirathu, near Elathur, around 3.30 p.m. Nasel, 7 and Rehna Fathima, 5, sustained head injuries in the attack. The protesters smashed the windshields of the vehicle and assaulted the driver.

Trade unions and strike supporters took out rallies in all the districts. The conclusion of the strike was marked by a rally addressed by leaders of the CITU, INTUC, AITUC, STU, SEWA Union and various other unions at the Martyrs’ Column in the capital city. Speaking to The Hindu, AITUC State general secretary Kanam Rajendran said the strike was a major success.

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