Left parties claim strike a 'great success'

Policewomen detain SUCI activists during a nationwide strike in Kolkata on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI

Terming the All India general strike called by central trade unions (CTUs) “a great success”, Left parties today congratulated the protesters for staging “one of the biggest” demonstrations of working class against Centre’s alleged anti-labour policies.

“Great success I should say. (The response) was more than expected. It is one of the biggest actions of working class and manifestation of their unity against anti-labour policies of Government,” CPI General secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said.

The strike was “successful” despite Centre trying to “dissuade” workers from proceeding with the agitation at the eleventh minute, the CPI (M) said.

“Apart from dissuading RSS-affiliated Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, they could not succeed in dissuading any other CTU from proceeding with the strike,” the party said in a statement.

Police crackdown in West Bengal

The CPI (M) accused Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal of unleashing terror and mounting “murderous” physical attacks on union leaders. It claimed local police mercilessly beat up the protesters and arrested hundreds on fabricated charges.

“Despite this, people of West Bengal confronted such terror and observed a virtual state-level hartal,” the CPI (M) statement claimed.

The Left parties said CTUs will now wait for Government’s response to the “eye opener” strike before deciding future course of action.

“We have to wait now to see what their (Government’s) reaction is. If they are ready for discussion ... otherwise we will go for longer protest, bigger action,” Reddy warned.

Normal life was affected in various parts of the country, including West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala and Karnataka, as 10 CTUs today went on day-long nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs.

The strike affected transport, banking operations and other services in various parts of the country.

Trade unions’ 12-point charter of demands also included urgent measures to contain price rise, contain unemployment, strict enforcement of basic labour laws, universal social security cover for all workers and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

1 13 lakh employees from the public, private and foreign banks are joining the nationwide strike called by trade unions to protest the “anti-labour” policies of the Narendra Modi government.
2 “Around 13 lakh employees and officers from 25 public sector banks, 11 private sector banks and nine foreign banks will be on strike tomorrow,” All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) said.
3 Besides these banks, employees from 56 regional rural banks, 650 cooperative banks, the Reserve Bank, Nabard and Sidbi will also be on strike.
4 In all, 14 unions representing bank employees and officers will be supporting the day-long stir called by 10 Central trade unions.
5 Bank unions are also protesting against the government’s plan to revamp the working of the public sector banks. “We will fight against the government’s backdoor attempts to hand over public sector to corporates,” they said.
6 The trade unions have given the strike call over a 12-point charter of demands, including withdrawal of the proposed “anti-worker” amendments in labour laws and stopping the disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs.
7 10 Central unions claim to have a combined membership of 15 crore workers
8 Several outfits representing informal sector workers have also supported the shutdown.
9 Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, however, said in New Delhi that he expects the impact to be minimal. “I don’t think essential services will be affected by the strike. I feel that the impact will not be much.”
10 Union leaders, however, said the strike will affect the functioning of essential services like banking, transport and supply of power, gas and oil.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 2:51:58 PM |

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