The nationwide one-day strike call by central trade unions on Friday evoked mixed response in different places across states. While major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata remained unaffected, life in Kerala, Telengana and Andhra Pradesh was badly hit.
In Kolkata and Mumbai, it was business as usual for public transport. Local trains, autorickshaws, taxis and city buses continued to operate normally. However, stray incidents were reported from rural Maharashtra. There was also an ‘overwhelming’ response to the stir in the industrial belts of the state with many government employees staying away from work.
In Tamil Nadu, the strike did not have much impact as transport services and other businesses began the day’s functioning normally. Bus and train services operated as usual while schools, shops and business establishments remained open.
While the ruling AIADMK’s labour wing is not participating in the strike, the striking union members staged demonstrations at various places raising slogans in support of their demands. Inter-state buses to Kerala were stopped at the border towns of Nagercoil and Theni.
Central government offices wore a deserted look with the employees joining the strike while section of state government employees, especially in the revenue department, also joined the strike.
In Telangana, banking operations came to a standstill as over 15,000 employees of various banks took part in the strike.
Also, normal life in Kerala was hit as public transport vehicles stayed off the roads and shops and business establishments remained closed.
However, in Uttarakhand, the strike had little impact as most bank unions in the state kept away from it. Only one trade union — Hind Mazdoor Sabha — joined the strike. All schools in the state, however, remained shut on account of the strike as a precautionary measure and Chief Secretary Shatrughan Singh has asked all district magistrates to keep vigil.
Earlier, All India Banks Employees Association general secretary Vishwas Utagi said that entire financial sector will get paralysed on Friday with all banks, except SBI, being on strike. The LIC, Nabard, GIC among others are also participating in the strike, he said.
The trade unions called the strike in protest against "anti-worker" changes in labour laws and the Centre’s "indifference" to their demands for better wages.
All major unions, excluding RSS-associated BMS (Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh), have joined the strike call, terming the government’s assurances to look into their demands and the recent announcements for two-year bonus and hike in minimum wage as "completely inadequate".
On its part, the government has asked all ministries to ensure that public utilities and essential services are not affected. Secretaries of all departments have been asked to take effective measures for smooth running of various services coming under their respective ministries.