CHENNAI: Scores of banking and insurance sector trade unions will participate in the All India General Strike called by Central Trade Unions on February 28, according to CH Venkatachalam, coordinator of Bank and Insurance Sector Trade Unions. “As part of the strike, member trade unions have organised a mass rally at 10 am today beginning at the Memorial Hall near the GH,” Venkatachalam said. Addressing the media here on Monday, he demanded that the government take concrete measures to implement all labour laws, ensure prompt registration of trade unions within 45 days, ratification of the International Labour Organisation’s conventions 87 and 98, curb ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, and amendments to the Minimum Wages Act.
The stir has been backed in the state by office-bearers of BSNL employees union, All India Insurance Employees Federation, Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers Tamil Nadu unit, Bank Employees Federation of India, and All India Defence Employees Federation.
The major demand of the unions is to contain price rise besides creation of a National Social Security Fund, stopping disinvestments in Central and state public sector units, and universal social security cover for unorganised workers. The unions also demand strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exemption, and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.
Sources claim more than 25 lakh employees along with unorganised workers may go on a token strike in the state on Tuesday.
Interestingly, this is the 14th such strike since the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) and even the Congress-backed Indian National Trade Union Congress is backing the protest.
BJP Backs Stir
BJP has backed the nation-wide protest and said the strike exposes the Union government’s anti-labour policies. BJP national spokesman Prakash Javadekar said the majority of the demands by the trade unions are fair.
TN Govt Employees Will Also Participate
Tamil Nadu Government Employees Union will participate in the nationwide strike on Tuesday said its president K Balasubramanian.
“Centre and State have reached a point where 40 per cent of the total work force in government machinery remains empty,’’ he said.