Senior Union ministers today held extensive talks after trade unions said no to the government’s request to call off their proposed nationwide general strike on September 2.
Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya had urged the central trade unions (CTUs) yesterday to reconsider their decision to go on strike.
However, trade unions today rejected the request saying that government has failed to address their 12-point charter of demands.
Replying to Dattaterya’s letter, AITUC and CITU said the status report on the demands is “almost the same as that you circulated exactly one year ago, in the joint meeting with the CTUs held on August 26-27, on the eve of the general strike in 2015”.
The unions attacked the government saying it is “equally unfortunate” that no concrete measures have been spelt on the issue of price control of essential commodities, statutorily fixing the minimum wage as per norms and social security.
Meanwhile, Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal and Dattatreya today held extensive consultations and meetings with senior Labour Ministry officials over the proposed countrywide strike, sources said.
Both Goyal and Dattatreya are part of the five-member ministers’ panel on labour issues, which is chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, to talk to the CTUs over the 12-point charter of demands.
The panel has recently held two-rounds of discussions with RSS-affiliate Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) on August 16 and August 24, which has also been “severely criticised” by other unions for holding such “exclusive discussions”.
The panel last met all the unions on August 26-27, 2015. The unions had requested Dattaterya on July 18 this year to hold a meeting with the ministers’ panel to pay heed to their point of view, but no such meeting was convened.
In anticipation of some positive response on the charter of demands, BMS is holding back its decision to join the stir on September 2. Last year, BMS had opted out of ‘Bharat Bandh’ (September 2, 2015) in view of government’s assurances to work on nine out of the 12 demands.
Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) General Secretary Tapan Sen told PTI that there is no question of calling back the strike.
Similarly, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) Vice President Ashok Singh also said that the decision to go ahead with strike stands.
All India Trade Unions Congress (AITUC) said, “AITUC along with other CTUs finds it difficult to accept your (government’s) request for reconsideration of call of protest strike on September 2, 2016. The decision to go on strike stands.”