KARNATAKA

Strike hits work at government offices

WAITING FILES: The scene at an office in the Multi-Storey Building, in Bangalore on Thursday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

WAITING FILES: The scene at an office in the Multi-Storey Building, in Bangalore on Thursday. — Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

But it was a regular weekday at the Vidhana Soudha

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: A high percentage of State Government employees stayed away from work on Thursday in response to the call for a strike given by the Akhila Karnataka State Government Employees' Federation.

The federation had given the call for the strike partly in support of the demands of the leftist trade unions which organised the nationwide strike.

In many government offices, employees who turned up for work were asked to leave by persons deployed by the federation or trade unions to "police" offices and ensure that no one was found working.

However, despite the leaders of the Secretariat Employees' Association supporting the strike, the Vidhana Soudha reported good attendance. With most of the employees at their desks, it seemed like a regular weekday and only a few seats were vacant.

That was mainly because the BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) had decided to ply buses ignoring a call of trade unions to refrain from doing so.

`Orders' from junior staff

In the Public Works Department offices at K.R. Circle, very few employees turned up. The few engineers and officers who did make it to work were asked by the junior staff to leave as they had to "lock up" the offices. To be seen working today was to invite the wrath of the trade unions, an engineer wryly admitted when asked whether he would heed the "orders" to leave.

Demonstrations

Meanwhile, the Bangalore District Council of the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) said the strike was a "success," with workers in the industrial areas of Bommasandra, Veerasandra, Jigani, Peenya and Tumkur Road cooperating. There were demonstrations, protests and slogans against the "anti-labour" policy of the Union and State governments. Workers demanded the implementation of the Common Minimum Programme of the United Progressive Alliance.

The AITUC criticised the BMTC for its "hostile attitude" towards the workers, and claimed it operated buses to show its anti-worker attitude. The agitation will be intensified in the coming days, General Secretary of the State unit of the AITUC M.D. Harigovinda said.

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