Nationwide trade union strike disrupts transport, banking ops; Kerala most hit
Public transport services were disrupted and banking and insurance operations deranged as more than a million employees across the country struck work against "anti-labour" policies, bringing life to a standstill in parts of some states like Kerala.
New Delhi: Public transport services were disrupted and banking and insurance operations deranged as more than a million employees across the country struck work against "anti-labour" policies, bringing life to a standstill in parts of some states like Kerala.
Most public sector banks did not do any public dealing while insurance companies', including LIC's, functioning was badly hit with employees staying away from work. Impact of the strike on public life was mixed across the country.
Transport services in some states like Kerala were hit as public transport buses were off the road.
Electricity generation and supply were largely unaffected even though coal dispatches were impacted due to strike in Coal India Ltd (CIL). But mining operations were affected.
Water supplies and phone services were normal even though workers at state-owned BSNL stayed away from work.
In national capital, nurses at government hospitals joined strike, disrupting services.
Industry association Assocham put the impact of the strike on the economy at Rs 16,000-18,000 crore.
The government said sectors such as railways, civil aviation and major ports remained "unaffected", while banking and insurance, coal, telecom and defence production were "partially affected" and transport and steel saw only marginal impact.
Left-ruled Kerala saw the maximum impact as normal life was hit after public transport vehicles stayed off the roads and shops and business establishments downed shutters.
Buses were off the road in Congress-ruled Karnataka but shops, establishments, markets and hotels functioned normally. Some auto and cab unions joined the strike but metro services were normal.
In Assam too, buses were off the road, hitting normal life. Left-ruled Tripura saw government offices, banks, schools and colleges remaining closed.
It was business as usual for public transport in Mumbai with suburban trains, autorickshaws, taxis and city buses operating normally.
The strike did not have any visible impact in TMC-ruled West Bengal with government and other offices functioning normally and transports services including state-run and private buses, trams, metro, trains being in service. Most of the shops and markets were also open.
Tamil Nadu too did not have much impact as transport services and other businesses functioned normally.
While in Telangana, State Road Transport Organisation buses were off the road, in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh shops in towns like Vijayawada downed their shutters in solidarity with the striking workers.
But for banking services, strike had no effect on any other sector in Gujarat. Thousands of workers in Goa marched in protest against the "anti-labour" policies of the central government.
Transport and steel were marginally affected, the labour Ministry said in a statement.
"While Kerala and Tripura were affected, states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh were partially affected. In other states strike's impact remained negligent," it said.
No report of loss of life or property was reported from any part of the country, the Ministry added.
Meanwhile, protesting workers were detained in Haryana, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.
In West Bengal, nearly 270 bandh supporters, including Siliguri mayor Ashok Bhattacharya, were arrested, while in Assam the police took about 500 protesters in preventive custody in Guwahati alone.
"Section 144 was imposed in several industrial areas as in Gurgaon, Faridabad in Haryana, Noida etc. 12 workers of Maruti Suzuki and 22 transport union leaders were arrested in Gurgaon; police went to workers? residential areas in Gurgaon to coerce contract workers who were on strike, to join work," CITU claimed.
While, central trade unions said the stir was successful as around 18 crore workers came on streets to support the agitation, despite only partial impact in some states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The agitation paralysed day to day work in states like Kerala, Odisha, Tripura, Assam and Telangana. The impact was quite visible in Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Haryana, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, claimed Trade Union Coordination Committee (TUCC) General Secretary S P Tiwari.
He said: "The impact was partial in states like Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan but the life remained normal in metropolitan cities of Mumbai and Delhi. However the strike is successful as around 18 crore workers came on streets to support the agitation."
Central of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) Tapan Kumar Sen said: "The repose to the strike was massive and unprecedented. Workers actively participated in the strike despite the use of state repression including the use of police force in some states like West Bengal, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Assam etc."
CITU said: "The West Bengal Transport Minister directed the MD of Water Transport to suspend the striking employees. TMC goons attacked processions of striking workers, youth, women and even journalists in Burdwan and many other places."
All India Coal Workers Federation D D Ramanadan claimed that "dispatch, production and transport of coal has come a standstill" with operations in CIL subsidiaries BCCL, CCL, ECL and CMPDI badly hit. "Around 300 workers have been arrested in Rajmahal and Chitra mines areas."
Auto sector was also hit as workers remained off duty from some of plants of Tata Motors, Hero Moto Corp and Honda Motorcycles and Scooter India.