As a nationwide strike of trade unions hit banking and other services on Wednesday, business chambers pegged the loss to the economy at a staggering Rs 25,000 crore and said such "disruptive" actions can hit India's image as an attractive business destination.
Stating that labour law reforms are crucial and important to create a conducive environment for investments and employment generation in the country, industry body CII said the process of tripartite consultation adopted by the government and hoped that all concerned will amicably resolve their differences through a consultative process.
Terming the strike as "disruptive and uncalled for", CII President Sumit Mazumder said: "The impact of the strike has been partial. The real concern is that the image of India as an attractive business destination could take a beating.
"The Indian economy cannot afford such disruptions and all constituents are required to work together to take the country forward. We earnestly appeal to Trade Unions to resolve all pending issues through dialogue and discussion".
The suspension of work in the banks could hamper banking transactions which are crucial for the conduct of business operations especially in areas which are serviced by branch banking operations, the industry body stated.
Noting that an amicable solution can be reached through mutual discussions, CII said resorting to such means like strike/bandh "will be detrimental for the growth of the economy, particularly when the country is facing the heat of global economic turbulence".
Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said the financial impact of the disruption of essential services might lead to an estimated loss of over Rs 25,000 crore to the economy, thereby taking into account the numerous direct and indirect losses.
"The strike is likely to hit industrial activity due to poor workers' attendance, besides footfall in retail trading markets will fall as the walkout will severely impact public transport and with bank employees remaining on strike it will affect operations at the banks," said Rawat.
"A big jolt would accrue to the export cargo thereby throwing crucial delivery schedule to haywire, besides with exports being under pressure, such things like strike would give a further setback," he said, adding that labour reforms are "necessary and the government should intervene to come to an agreeable solution in the interest of the industry".
A day-long nationwide strike today impacted normal life in various parts of the country with coal production, banking operations and transport services being hit the most, while violent clashes erupted in West Bengal resulting in arrest of over 200 persons.
Banking services were among the worst hit as 23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and over 13,000 cooperative banks joined the stir. However, staff at SBI, Indian Overseas Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank choose to stay away from the strike.