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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Two-day strike to hit banking hard; PMPML, rickshaws to operate

PUNE: Banking and insurance transactions, functioning of various government offices, postal department and industries will be affected on February 20 and 21 because of the nation-wide strike called to protest against rising prices, inflation, corruption, disinvestment and to press demands for jobs, salary revision and social security for unorganized workers.

Educational institutions in the city will function as usual and buses and rickshaws ferrying students have declared that they will not participate in the strike.

The service of Pune Mahanagar Parivahn Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) will remain unaffected as no union plans to join the two-day strike. The autorickshaw service will remain unaffected in Pune city but unions in Pimpri Chinchwad have decided to join the strike. The autorickshaw unions in Pune city will remain off the roads on Thursday between 1 pm and 5 pm.

The unions of employees and officers in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad municipal corporations have decided not to participate in the strike. Members of a few unions may not come to work or wear black badges. A final decision is awaited, said the officials.

The strike called by 11 registered trade unions will start from Tuesday midnight in protest against the 'anti-people' policies of the UPA government that include poor implementation of labour laws and disinvestment in public sector undertakings and increased foreign direct investment.

Pension for everyone along with removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund are among the other demands raised by the unions. Apart from the 11 trade unions, over 2,000 independent unions have also joined the protest.

The strike has been called jointly by the Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and other such organizations.

The state government has asked senior officers to persuade the striking employees to resume work. However, functioning of most government offices, including the revenue department, is likely to get affected. State government central employees union, public works department and irrigation employees' union and all the unions in banking sector have decided to participate in the strike.

The ATMs that have limited cash holding capacity may run out of cash towards the end of the second day of the strike. Banks had a holiday on Tuesday on account of Shiv Jayanti so banking transactions are expected to be affected for three days.

Meanwhile, only two unions from the electricity generation, transmission and distribution companies have decided to participate in the strike but it will have little effect on the functioning of the three companies, said a senior official. The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd has also decided not to undertake its routine maintenance work on Thursday as HSC examination will start from February 21. The maintenance work requires disconnection of power supply for some time, so we decided not to do it on Thursday, said the official.

Shubha Shamim, general secretary of the State Anganwadi Workers' Organization, said, "All the anganwadis in the district that employ 700 women will go on strike. The workers will gather at the new office of the ZP and will march towards the divisional commissioner's office to draw government's attention to our demands."

An official communication from Tata Motors' Employees' Union said the union has decided not to participate in the strike as the company has observed closures in the last few months. The union said in its statement that though it supported the strike and the demands, it can not participate actively.

Vinayak Shukla, secretary of the Maharashtra Education Society, said, "We have decided to keep our schools open on both days of the bandh." The Society runs eight schools in the city.

Leena Chaudhari, principal, Symbiosis School, said, "We will not shut schools. Our buses will also operate normally."

Sudamrao Jambhulkar, operator of 12 buses, said, "It's exam season and we do not want to trouble students."
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