New Delhi | Normal life was affected in various parts of the country, including West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala and Karnataka, as 10 central trade unions today went on a day-long nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs.
Trade union leaders claimed that around 15 crore formal sector workers are on strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands. BJP-backed BMS and NFITU however stayed away from the strike. The strike affected transport, banking operations and other services in various parts of the country.
Normal working at banks was affected as 23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and over 13,000 cooperative banks have joined the stir except SBI, IOB, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank who choose to stay away from the strike.
Over half of the 10 lakh banking sector workers have gone on strike, All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said. Cases of small skirmishes were reported in West Bengal and National Capital Region among other places In Kolkata, partial impact was seen on suburban trains while shops, markets and business establishments in most areas remained closed.
State administration was plying a large fleet of public buses while partial impact was seen on operations of private buses and taxis. In the National Capital, commuters faced problems as a large number of autos and taxis remained off the roads. In Kerala, public and private bus services, taxis and autorickshaws were off the roads. Only private cars and two wheelers were seen on the roads.
Shops, hotels and even small tea stalls were closed in the state. In Tripura, vehicles did not ply on the roads, while markets were closed. Banks and other financial institutions, schools and colleges were closed and attendance was thin in government offices as well. The entrance gates of ONGC facility and the Tripura Jute Mill were closed.
In Karnataka, government transport workers also joined the strike objecting to the proposed motor bill. Buses and autorickshaws kept off the roads causing inconvenience to office goers and those travelling to far of places. While impact of strike was visible in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu was largely unaffected.
In Kerala Shops, business establishments and banks remained closed and public transport went off the roads as the strike progressed in a peaceful manner.
Barring a few stray incidents, no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state, police said today. An official release said 21.48 per cent of the employees reported for duty in the state Secretariat.
The IT sector was also affected by the strike as only 48 per cent of the employees reported for duty in the Kochi Infopark. The All Kerala Bank
Employees Federation said more than 20,000 Bank Employees and Officers in Public Sector-private-foreign-co-operative-regional rural banks participated in the strike. Employees in Reserve Bank of India and NABARD also struck work.
Reports from different parts of the state said educational institutions, shops and business establishments remained closed. Public transport, including private and state-owned KSRTC buses, taxis and autorickshaws were off the road.
Train services, however, were not affected. Government offices and private establishments, including banks functioned with thin attendance as the employees could not reach their offices in the absence of public transport. Commuters, office-goers and passengers faced inconvenience due to the strike. Many passengers, especially those coming to the Regional Cancer Centre and Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital for treatment, had to wait for hours to get police help to reach the hospital.
Examinations being conducted by various universities in the state have been postponed due to the strike.