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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trade unions flex muscles as talks fail

20th February 2013 09:43 AM
With talks failing between the government and the trade unions, the country gears up for a two-day strike that threatens to bring daily life to a screeching halt. Starting Wednesday, the 48-hour bandh called by 11 registered trade unions, nationwide agitations will be held to oppose the “anti-people” policies of the UPA-II government. Trade union representatives met a government committee comprising A K Antony, Sharad Pawar and Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday but the talks failed to yield any positive news. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier appealed to the trade unions to call off the strike as it would harm the economy and cause inconvenience to the public.
“The government has nothing to offer. We are going ahead with the strike. We expect it to be hugely successful,” CITU President A K Padmanabhan said. The strike has been called by Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) among others. At least 2,000 independent trade unions are also supporting the call. Sectors such as banking, telecom, transport, ports and power have responded to the call for strike.
Industry body, ASSOCHAM cautioned that the strike would hit the country’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP) and cause losses of at least `20,000 crore. “Given the nature of the strike and involvement of the all the five major central trade unions, it is going to affect largely the services sector including the banking, financial services, tourism, transportation etc, which are the major contributors to the country’s GDP. Our conservative estimates show that at least 30-40 per cent of the daily GDP would take a hit. For two days, it would be something like `15,000-20,000 crore,” ASSOCHAM President, Rajkumar Dhoot said.
Trade unions are demanding pensions for everyone, removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund. Along with rising inflation, the trade unions are also protesting disappointing implementation of labour laws, disinvestment in Public Sector Units (PSUs) and increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in various sectors.
Courtesy : The New Indian Express, 20th Feb, 2013

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