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TN This Week: Bank Strike Successful, 3 School Students Die in Wall Collapse

Neelambaran A |
3,000 women workers of Foxconn blocked the Chennai-Bengaluru highway after the health of 8 workers affected by food poisoning was not disclosed.
TN This Week: Bank Strike Successful, 3 School Students Die in Wall Collapse

Image credit: R Prakash

The two-day strike called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) against the proposed privatisation of public sector banks was a success with the participation of officers and other employees.

In a tragic accident, three students of a private school in Tirunelveli died after a toilet wall collapsed. Thousands of women employees of Foxconn blocked the Chennai-Bengaluru highway after eight workers were admitted to the hospital reportedly due to food poisoning and their health was not disclosed. 

Meanwhile, the number of fresh COVID-19 infections fell below 650 during the week while 28 suspected cases of Omicron were detected. The state has administered 7,79,88,530 vaccines so far. 

The Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) held a statewide road blockade demanding an increase in monthly aid.

In another instance of cases being filed against former AIADMK ministers, the residences and places connected to former electricity minister K Thangamani were raided. Newsclick brings a round-up of the happenings during the week.

BANK STRIKE EVOKES MASSIVE RESPONSE

The two-days bank strike was successful with almost 100% participation of employees, the UFBU claimed. The unions had called for the strike after conciliary talks between the All India Bank Employees Association and the additional chief labour commissioner failed.

Demonstrations were held on December 16 and 17 in all the district headquarters against the Centre’s plan to introduce a Bill for the privatisation of public banks. The bank unions are contemplating an indefinite strike given the success of the historic farmer struggle. Read More

28 SUSPECTED CASES OF OMICRON

Twenty-eight overseas passengers who had arrived till were detected with ‘s’ gene drop, indicating infection of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus. The genome sequencing of 70 overseas travellers and contacts have been completed so far. The state government has stepped up testing at the international terminals.

The number of COVID-19 infections fell below 650 with 621 infections on December 17. The total active cases are 7,407 with 27,38,583 infections and 36,667 deaths. State Cabinet minister MP Swaminathan was hospitalised after contracting infection. 

The 15th mega vaccination camp is underway with 4,81,58,230 first doses and 2,98,30,300 second doses administered till the morning of December 18. 

WALL COLLAPSE KILLS THREE STUDENTS

Three students Vishwa Ranjan (class 8), Anbazhagan (class 9) and Sudhish (class 6) were killed when a newly constructed wall at government-aided Schaffter School, in Tirunelveli, collapsed. Four other students sustained injuries. The principal and the building contractor have been arrested. 

The parents of the dead students refused to accept their bodies and held a road blockade. Subsequently, the district administration talks with the parents and the state government announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each to the families. 

A committee has been set up to study the condition of school buildings across the state. Hundreds of buildings that will be demolished have already been identified. 

AIADMK-BJP ALLIANCE INTACT

After the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) announced its withdrawal from the AIADMK-led alliance, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continues to reiterate that its coalition with the AIADMK is intact. The BJP seems to be desperate in continuing the alliance with the AIADMK, at least, up to the urban local body polls.

Former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami confirmed the PMK’s exit to the media and accused the party of hopping alliances during elections. The alliance was marred by allegations and counter-allegations during and after the Assembly and rural local body elections.

The AIADMK has called for submission of willingness from the cadre while other parties are yet to begin preparations for the polls. Read More

FOXCONN WOMEN WORKERS BLOCK HIGHWAY 

Around 3,000 women workers of the Foxconn India Limited plant on the outskirts of Chennai held a massive road blockade for more than five hours after the health of eight workers who fell ill after food poisoning was unknown for hours. 

Traffic on the Chennai-Bengaluru highway was affected after the women refused to relent despite police pressure. The protesters relented only after the hospitalised workers spoke to them through video call in the presence of the Kanchipuram district collector. 

TAMIL THAAI VAAZHTHU IS NOW STATE ANTHEM

Tamil Thaai Vaazhthu, a song praising the Tamil language, has been declared as the state anthem. Following the government order, all official functions will begin with the song with all attendees in standing position except the differently abled. 

In 2018, the then-junior seer of Kanchipuram mutt Vijeyendra Sarawathi was found sitting when the song was sung at a function, which led to a huge row in the state. 

FIRECRACKER WORKERS PROTEST

The Sivakasi firecracker industry workers held a protest on December 17 seeking the reopening of the units, and permission for manufacturing series crackers and usage of barium nitrate. The workers, who protested in front of the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation office, sought exemption for the firecracker industry from environmental laws. 

cracker

YOUTUBER ARRESTED

YouTuber Maridhas, a YouTuber supported by the right wing, was arrested following several complaints against him across the state. He was initially arrested for his post on the helicopter accident which killed CDS Bipin Rawat and 12 others but the FIR was quashed by a court. 

The BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and right-wing fringe groups extended support to Maridhas and accused the state government of suppressing dissent. Several cases registered after complaints filed by religious minorities, DMK leaders, journalists and farmers are pending against Maridhas, who had made controversial comments against former Dravidian leaders. Read More

EUROLIFE WORKERS PROTEST

The workers of Eurolife in Kancheepuram held a two-day protest on December 13 against the unilateral announcement of sudden closure of the plant. The information was shared to the workers through WhatsApp.  The workers have been protesting the delay in salary payment from 2020. Read More

AYUSH MULTIPURPOSE WORKERS PROTEST

The multipurpose workers of Siddha hospitals held a protest against the poor service conditions. The workers, employed for the last 12 years without leaves and social welfare benefits, are paid only Rs 300 per day. The demands of the workers include consolidated wages and regularisation of work. Read More

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