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Nationwide Strike by CTUs Enters 2nd Day

Bank, insurance, telecom, transport, scheme workers, among other sectors protest PSU privatisation, contractualisation, outsourcing, price rise.

New Delhi: The two-day nationwide strike by central trade unions to protest against government policies entered its second day on Tuesday, impacting normal life in several parts of the country.

According to reports, public transport and banking services remain partly disrupted for the second day in some states.

"Workers in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh have joined the strike on the second day in addition to the workforce of state on the agitation on Monday. Workers in almost all sectors have joined the strike. We got a good response from the rural band. Over 20 crore participated in the strike on Monday and the number would be more on the second day," Amarjeet Kaur, General Secretary of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), told PTI.

A joint forum of central trade unions is protesting against the government policies affecting workers, farmers, and people.

Their demands include scrapping of Labour Codes, no privatisation in any form, scrapping of National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), increased allocation of wages under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and regularisation of contract workers.

In a statement, the joint platform has said central trade unions and independent sectoral federations and associations will stage a 'dharna' at Jantar Mantar from 11.30 am onwards on the second day of the strike on March 29 for their 12-point charter of demands.

The unions of bank employees are participating in the strike.

Bank unions are protesting against the government's move to privatise two public sector banks as announced in Budget 2021-22. They are also demanding an increase in interest rate on deposits and reduction in service charges.

On Monday, the first day of the strike, public dealings at some bank branches were hit and public transport services were thrown out of gear in states like West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. However, essential services like healthcare, electricity and fuel supplies remained unaffected.

Some bank branches, particularly in cities with a strong trade union movement, did very limited over-the-counter public dealings such as cash deposits and withdrawals on the first day of strike.

The joint forum of central trade unions said bandh-like situation prevailed in at least eight states on the first day of the strike.

"There is a bandh-like situation in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Assam, Haryana and Jharkhand," the forum had said in a statement on Monday.

According to the forum, agitations were held in many industrial areas across Goa, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

In Maharashtra, volume data from clearing houses and cash replenishment at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) was not immediately available, though the striking employees claimed it had a deep impact.

Workers staged protests at several places and unions claimed the agitation had an impact in coal mining belts of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh on Monday.

The central trade unions that are part of this joint forum are INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC.

In Maharashtra,  the CITU lead protest on national strike with thousands of workers and supporters gathering at historic Worli Naka in Mumbai to protest against anti-labour laws. Labourers from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, anganwadi workers, safai workers, members or various trade unions participated in Worli Naka protest on Monday evening.

CPM MLA Vinod Nikole lead the protest in Dahanu with hundreds of farmers and labourers. He said that central government had to go back in farm laws. "Labourers across India are united and now ready to give long battle to repeal anti labourers laws. Governments will have to go back on these laws too," he said.

In Pune’s municipal council hall, hundreds of bank employees as well as municipal employees, LIC employees and other joined the strike.

In Chennai, some industries in the suburbs reported 100% strike. Namely Ashok Leyland, Hinduja Foundries, Madras Rubber Factory (MRF) Tyres, Balmer Lawrie and Tablets India Ltd.

The workers of the companies in the automobile industries belt in Kanchipuram district are on strike today. Complete work strike was observed by JK Tyres, Apollo Tyres, Yamaha, Cosmos, Hinduja Foundry factory workers.

About 35,000 SAIL, RINL, NMDC Workers Boycott Work

About 35,000 workers of state-owned SAIL, RINL and NMDC continued to boycott work on Tuesday as part the nationwide strike, affecting production at steel plants and mines, according to PTI.

Rajesh Sandhu, Secretary of NMDC Sanyukt Khadaan Mazdoor Sangh said all non-executive workers have boycotted work to join the nationwide strike which entered its second day on Tuesday.

"Intensifying their protest against government polices, NMDC workers stopped state transport buses in Chhattisgarh for about 6 hours from 5 a.m," Sandhu said adding NMDC would incur a loss of about Rs 200 crore due to the protest.

Over 10,000 non-executive employees of the company are observing the protest at NMDC mines and offices in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana.

J Ayodhya Ram, President of Steel Plant Employees Union (CITU) said workers at RINL plant in Visakhapatnam did not come to work on Tuesday as well.

Around 8,000 non-executive Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) workers out of 11,000 are taking part in the ongoing nationwide strike called by central trade unions.

He further said production has been affected at the unit as only one furnace out of three is functional at the plant in Visakhapatnam. One was already under maintenance, the second one has been shut down as a precautionary measure.

Around 15,000 workers of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) also remained away from work at its plants in Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal, an employee of SAIL's Bhilai Steel Plant said.

The workers working at key functional areas of the plants did not come on Tuesday to work, he said.

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