Trade Union strike affects normal life in Kerala; no effect in TN, Karnataka, WB
The nation-wide strike called by central trade unions today hit normal life in several states with left-ruled Kerala and Tripura being hardest hit.
Autorickshaws, taxies, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) and private buses are not plying on roads across the state with the workers of various unions taking part in the strike.
Major roads wore a deserted look in the state capital where hundreds of employees of ISRO units, including Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), could not reach their offices as the strike supporters laid a siege of an ISRO bus bay here.
Train passengers had a tough time as they had to walk to their homes after alighting at the railway station here. However, police helped patients coming to the Regional Cancer centre here by arranging transport.
All major unions, barring RSS-associated BMS (Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh), have joined the strike, terming as “completely inadequate” the Central government’s assurances to look into their demands and the recent announcements for two-year bonus and hike in minimum wage.
This is the first major strike in Kerala after the CPI(M) led LDF government came to power in May this year.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has courted controversy after expressing support to the strike on Facebook with BJP hitting out against him.
VSSC officials said employees of Indian Space Research Organisation’s units here were stranded at the bus bay at Pattom here.
Three convoys of buses, which were to carry employees from different localities, could not leave as strike supporters laid siege of the bus bay of ISRO units at Pattom here.
About 6,000 odd employees of the VSSC in Thumba, ISRO Inertial Systems unit, a R&D unit of ISRO at Vattiyoorkavu, Liquid Propulsion systems centre (LPSC) and Indian Institute of Space Science Engineering college at Valliamala have been held up, sources said.
The union leaders led by former CPI(M) MLA, V Sivankutty staged a dharna in front of the bus bay this morning preventing employees from getting into the buses.
“Not a single bus has left the Pattom station since 7 AM this morning. We are not sure when the convoys will ply,” a VSSC official said.
In the past 15-20 years, we were never affected due to strikes as employees used to get transport arrangements, the official said.
Some vehicles of Technopark employees were also blocked. In the Apollo Tyres Perambra unit, BMS workers came for work for the 6 am shift and striking workers tried to prevent them.
However, police intervened and allowed them to enter the unit. Employees of the Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore (FACT) were also prevented at Kochi, police said.
West Bengal remains largely unaffected
The country-wide strike called by central trade unions did not have much impact in West Bengal till late morning hours as transport services functioned normally.
Government buses and other private vehicles were operating normally on the roads, officials said.
Train services at Sealdah and Howrah sections, and Metro Rail services were also as usual. However, the rush of passengers was less.
“So far, there has been no major incidents, except a few small incidents in some districts,” said a senior police official.
In Kolkata, seven persons were arrested for trying to enforce the strike forcefully.
CITU-led Left trade unions claimed that the strike is going on peacefully and accused Trinamool Congress (TMC) of trying to incite violence at some places.
“The people of the state have willingly participated in the strike. In most of the places it is peaceful but in certain areas TMC is using its muscle power to break the strike,” CITU State President Shyamal Chakraborty told PTI.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said while leaving for Italy, “The strike will be a complete failure in the state. I will be monitoring the entire work personally. Even though I will be out of the state but I will monitor the situation. My appeal to everybody is to reject the strike for the development of the state.”
The ruling TMC, which is opposing the strike, is celebrating Singur Divas throughout the state in order to counter the strike today.
“The people of Bengal have already rejected this obsolete strike culture. People are busy celebrating Singur Divas,” TMC Secretary General Partha Chatterjee told PTI.
Banerjee yesterday said there will be no ‘bandh’ in the state and warned of strong action against those who disrupt public life.
Banerjee said her government is also planning to introduce a new law under which those who ransack and damage property during ‘bandh’ will have to pay compensation.
The Left Trade unions, however, challenged the government to foil the strike and accused TMC of planning to incite violence in the state in the garb of observing ‘Singur Divas’.
To protest against the government’s “indifference” to their demands for better wages and facilities and the “anti-worker” changes in labour laws, all major central trade unions, excluding RSS-associated Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, have joined the strike call.
Normal life unaffected in Tamil Nadu
The nation-wide strike called by central trade unions today did not have much impact on normal life in Tamil Nadu as transport services and other businesses began the day’s functioning normally. Bus and train services were operated as usual while shops and business establishments remained open. Educational institutions are functioning normally.
The ruling AIADMK’s labour wing is not participating in the strike called by ten central unions protesting “anti-worker” changes in labour laws and the Centre’s “indifference” to their demands for better wages.
The striking union members staged demonstrations at various places raising slogans in support of their demands. A Madurai report said the strike did not affect normalcy in most parts of southern districts of the state. However, inter-state buses to Kerala were stopped at the border towns of Nagercoil and Theni.
Central government government offices wore a deserted look with the employees joining the strike while section of state government employees, especially in the revenue department, are also participating in the strike, the report said.
Shops in most places were open and autorickshaws were seen plying as usual.Police have been deployed for providing security to PSUs and government offices to prevent any untoward incident.
Officials said essential services were maintained and buses were operated by members of ‘Anna Thozhirsanga Peravai’, the AIADMK backed trade union.
Private buses were off the road in Tiruvarur district.More than 50,000 police personnel have been deployed in southern districts, police said adding so far no untoward incident had been reported.