Normal life was affected in various parts of the country, including in West Bengal and Kerala, as 10 central trade unions on Wednesday went on a day-long nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs. BJP-backed BMS and NFITU however stayed away from the strike.
Trade union leaders claimed that around 15 crore formal sector workers are on strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands. The day long strike was seen affecting transport and banking operations among other services.
In Kolkata, partial impact was seen on suburban trains while shops, markets and business establishments in most areas remained closed. State administration was plying a large fleet of public buses while partial impact was seen on operations of private buses and taxis.
In the national capital, commuters faced problems as a large number of autos and taxis remained off the roads. In Kerala, public and private bus services, taxis and autorickshaws were off the roads. Only few private cars and two wheelers were seen on the roads. Shops, hotels and even small tea stalls were closed in the state.
The government had Tuesday appealed trade unions call off the agitation in the interest of workers and nation. The unions, however, decided to go ahead with strike as their talks with a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last month did not make any headway on their 12-point charter of demands.
Trade unions' 12-point charter of demands includes 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.
They are also demanding enhanced pension for workers, stoppage of disinvestment in PSUs, stoppage of contractorisation, removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund, compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days, no amendment to labour laws unilaterally, stopping of FDI in Railways, Defence etc.