Despite eleventh hour effort to stop the trade unions’ call for a Bharat Bandh on Friday with hike in minimum wage hike, government has failed to stem the shut down which will affect the country, ranging from shutdown of banks, factories and government offices across the nation.
While state governments will take a decision on closure of schools and colleges, the Centre has not taken any pre-emptive closure so far. However, government-owned banks, bus transport, railways and PSU factories and government offices will be deserted on Friday with most of them staging protests and rallies across all the major cities and towns.
The ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has already failed in its talks to stem the impact of the shutdown though RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) withdrew from the group of trade unions giving a call for general strike.
Other trade unions and independent national federations including Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, are seeking the implementation of social security measures such as pension for all those who joined government service after 2004.
More than daily wage cap at Rs.350, the unions are demanding social security for workers and minimum wage of not less than 18,000 per month, besides a pension not less than 3,000 per month for all sectors, including unorganised sector workers.
On economic reforms, they want new FDI rules to be kept out of the railways, defence and other “strategic sectors”.
A statement by the CITU or left wing trade union front said, “The anti-worker and authoritarian attitude of the government is also nakedly reflected in their refusal to implement the consensus recommendations of 43rd, 44th and 45th Indian Labour Conference for formulations of minimum wages, equal wage and benefits of regular workers to the contract workers.”
Among the state governments, left front-led Kerala has extended its support to the Bharat Bandh call. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote on Facebook that people should support the bandh by clicking on a link in Facebook.