Trade Unions firm on strike, to hold talks with govt

Central trade unions remained firm on their call for two-day strike despite appeal from Prime Minister even as they were set to meet senior Union Ministers on assurance of looking into demands.

Updated: Feb 18, 2013, 17:28 PM IST

New Delhi: The central trade unions on Monday remained firm on their call for a two-day strike despite an appeal from Prime Minister even as they were set to meet senior Union Ministers tonight on his assurance of looking into their demands.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had made an appeal yesterday to all the 11 trade unions to withdraw their call for a nation-wide strike on February 20, saying that it would cause loss to the economy and inconvenience to general public.

The Prime Minister had also requested his senior Cabinet colleagues A K Antony, Sharad Pawar, P Chidambaram and Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge to hold discussions with representatives of labour unions who have called the stir on issues of price rise issue and violation of labour laws.

"We will be meeting (Defence Minister) A K Antony tonight at 0800 hours to discuss the assurance given by Prime Minister that issues raised by labour unions are being looked into. But the strike is still there. We have not called it off," CITU General Secretary Tapan Sen told PTI here.

He said the labour unions are waiting for some concrete action by the government.
AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said that representatives of all the 11 central trade unions will be present during the meeting.

"We will hold consultations among ourselves on future course of action but there is no question of calling off the strike merely on basis of assurances," he said.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, meanwhile, told reporters that he will be present during the meeting.

"I got a communication last night from the Cabinet Secretary that Prime Minister has requested four of his colleagues to meet trade union representatives today at 0800 hours," he said.

Asked about the issues which will be discussed during the meeting, Pawar said, "When we meet, then only I will tell because I am not dealing with this subject. I am part of that group. I will get opportunity to hear what exactly they want," he said.