Unorganised workers spearhead strike in State

The all-India strike organised by an alliance of eight central trade unions on Tuesday was “a resounding success” in Karnataka, according to trade unions, mainly because of the widespread participation of unorganised workers. “About one million workers in the State participated in the strike,” said Prasanna Kumar, general secretary of the Karnataka State Committee of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), one of the eight central unions that spearheaded the strike.

Unorganised workers

“This strike was successful not because workers in public sector banks, insurance companies and workers in the several public sector undertakings stayed away from work, but because a substantial part of the faceless workers in the State — anganwadi workers, headload workers at market yards, autorickshaw workers, construction workers, beedi workers and many others whose working lives are completely unregulated — participated in the strike,” said Mr. Kumar.

Garment factories that dot the Bangalore-Mysore Road were also “severely impacted” according to a trade union source. Twenty large garment factories, from Mysore Circle to Bidadi, were closed on Tuesday, he said. Many units on Tumkur Road and Hosur Road were closed.

According to Mr. Kumar, nearly 1.2 lakh anganwadi workers in the State, and 80,000 headload workers employed at 90 of the 144 Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee yards participated. Four lakh construction workers of the 20 lakh in the State also joined in the strike. A predominant section of beedi workers, mostly in Dakshina Kannada, also stayed away from work, Mr. Kumar said.

Public sector

Bangalore's elite public sector units, the original magnet that drew industrial investments into Karnataka, wore a deserted look on Tuesday. According to the unions, more than 30,000 workers in the premier PSUs in the city stayed away from work. Gangadhar Bhusthalimath, general secretary, Bharat Electronics Workers Union, said only 90 persons, of a total workforce of 10,000 were allowed into the factory.

Vasant Rai, general secretary, Karnataka Pradesh Bank Employees Federation, estimated that about 50,000 of the 70,000 bank employees in the State participated in the strike.

A manager of a branch of the State Bank of India said although most officers attended work, “they could do precious little without the support of the regular bank staff”.

Amannulla Khan, president, All-India Insurance Employees' Association, said that nearly 8,000 employees of the public insurance companies in Karnataka participated in the strike.

Mr. Kumar said units of Bosch Ltd., ITC, Toyota (near Bidadi) and Volvo (near Bangalore), and units of the Birla Group in Haveri, Belgaum and Gulbarga were affected by the strike. Private industrial units in Koppal, Bellary and Koppal were also hit, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 4:26:41 PM |

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