Kolkata: Accusing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of treating trade unions as `untouchables`, CPI leader and AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta today said the two-day general strike called by them this month is a wake up call for the `anti-people` UPA regime.
"Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has all the time for the big corporates. He has time for Vijay Mallya. But he doesn`t have time for workers and trade unions. For him the trade unions are untouchables," Dasgupta said at a function here.
CITU, INTUC, AITUC, BMS and Left-backed banking sector unions have jointly called the countrywide general strike opposing financial sector reforms and allowing FDI in retail on February 20 and 21.
Dasgupta alleged that the UPA government is no longer afraid of Parliament as it uses several tactics to undermine it and events from Anna Hazare`s campaign to Delhi rape protests has shown that the government is afraid only of public protests.
"It is true that never before a two-day countrywide general strike has been called in our country. But at the same time it is also true that never before have we seen such an anti-people government, such price rise, such oil price hike. It is a wake up call for the Centre."
Referring to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee`s opposition to the strike, he said, not only the central trade unions, but the trade unions of BJD, Shiv Sena, DMK and many others are also supporting it.
"When Trinamool Congress opposes policies of the Centre then it`s ok. But when we opppose then it`s wrong. We appeal to everybody to support our strike call. It is not a strike against West Bengal government but against the union government," he added.
Dasgupta said holding the strike on February 21, which was International Mother Tongure Day, was a political compulsion for the trade unions as it was the day the Parliament will start its Budget session.
"We have no differences with the literary bodies, who want to celebrate the day. If they want to celebrate, we will not stop them.
"We have no differences with language. But you should also remember this protest (strike) is symbolic to the language of protest," he said.