Essential services are likely to be impacted tomorrow with 10 central trade unions going ahead with one-day nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws even as Bharatiya Janata Party BJP-backed BMS and National Front of Indian Trade Unions have pulled out.
These ten unions claim a combined membership of 15 crore workers in public as well as private sector enterprises including banks and insurance companies and they have decided to go ahead with the strike after their talks with a group of senior ministers earlier this month failed to yield desired results.
Union leaders said the strike will affect the functioning of essential services like transport and supply of power, gas and oil, even as Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) claimed that power, oil and gas supplies will not be affected as a large number of public sector workers in these areas would not participate in the industrial action.
As many as 12 central trade unions had given this strike call over a 12-points charter of demands, including withdrawal of the proposed anti-worker amendments in labour laws and stopping the disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs.
BMS later pulled out saying the government needed to be given time to fulfil its promises on the basic demands. The National Front of Indian Trade Unions will also stay out.
Speaking on behalf of other unions, All India Trade Union Secretary D L Sachdev said that all ten central trade unions recognised by government will go on strike tomorrow.
He claimed that “many state units of BMS will also join the strike”.
Earlier in the day, BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay told reporters that “a large number of public sector undertakings who are members of central trade unions are not going on strike tomorrow.
“Thus, the services like power, oil and gas supply will not be affected. Big PSUs like NTPC, NHPC and PowerGrid will not observe strike tomorrow. Therefore, the power supply will not be affected”.
Upadhyay said the National Front of Indian Trade Unions has also decided not to go on strike and wants to give some time to government, at least till the Winter Session of the Parliament, for fulfilling its assurances like uniform minimum wages across the board and enhancing wage ceiling for bonus.
While 12 central trade unions had initially given the strike call to protest against proposed changes in various labour laws, BMS on Saturday decided to pull out. It favoured giving more time to the government in the wake of assurances given during their meeting with a group of senior ministers.
“The impact of the BMS pull out will be minimal on strike on September 2. The decision of the BMS is political,” All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta told reporters at the conference yesterday.
Upadhyay today said BMS is not a political organisation and has been a part of the joint movement of central trade unions to fight for the rights of the workers.
The 10 unions going on strike tomorrow have said in their joint statement that nothing has transpired in concrete terms after their leaders met with the group of ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for two days last week.
The employees’ of state transport undertakings and coal workers will also participate in the nationwide strike tomorrow to pitch for their agenda that includes opposition to the Road Transport and Safety Bill in its present form and further stake sale in coal India.
As per the membership claims filed by the central trade unions, there are over 13 crore members of the government recognised 12 central trade unions.
Dasgupta has said the informal sector workers like rickshaw pullers and landless farm labourers, will also participate in the strike.
India has workforce of 50 crore, of which over 80 per cent is in unorganised sector.