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Bank, insurance staff observe strike
Tribune News Service & PTI

A deserted view of the Kolkata’s office hub BBD Bag area during the 24-hour industrial strike called by the major Left-backed central trade unions in support of their demand for the restoration of the right to strike and against the alleged anti-people economic policies of the Union Government.
A deserted view of the Kolkata’s office hub BBD Bag area during the 24-hour industrial strike called by the major Left-backed central trade unions in support of their demand for the restoration of the right to strike and against the alleged anti-people economic policies of the Union Government. — PTI photo

New Delhi, February 24
Operations and services of banks and public sector organisations were hit today as thousands of workers struck work in protest against “anti-labour” policies of the Centre and demanded a review of the Supreme Court order debarring government employees from going on strike.

The All-India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) claimed that the strike was a “complete success” and maintained that workers owing allegiance to six of the 10 banking unions stayed away from work. The Centre, said it was willing to discuss the issues with the trade unions.

“We will sit with them and find a solution. As of now, there has been no such meeting fixed with unions”, Minister of State for Finance Shripad Naik told mediapersons here.

The one-day strike was called by Leftist trade unions. Teachers of Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University also observed strike, expressing support to the protesting employees. Workers of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi also held a demonstration, expressing solidarity in support of the strike.

In Delhi, a joint demonstration was held.

CITU National Secretary Tapan Das and AITUC National Secretary S. Bharadwaj said the strike call evoked a strong response in several states, with many Central Government employees participating in the strike. Banking and insurance services were paralysed as their staff and officers joined public sector employees on strike.

Normal life was hit in West Bengal and Kerala, traditional Left strongholds, with vehicular traffic going off the roads and train services, including that of Metro Railway, coming to a halt.

Trade unions alleged police lathi charge and arrests in Delhi, Haryana, Assam, Pondicherry and Orissa. In Mumbai, foreign exchange operations were affected as majority of RBI’s clearing functions were hit. In Kerala and West Bengal, the strike call received support from the state government employees, bringing to a grinding halt the entire government business. 


Striking employees lathicharged
Tribune Reporters

Rohtak, February 24
The police resorted to a mild lathicharge on Haryana Roadways employees here today. The employees were restricting the movement of buses following a nationwide call for strike by trade unions in support of their demand for the right to strike work.

The employees blocked the entry and exit points when a driver tried to take the bus out. The police arrived and when the crowd failed to disperse, it resorted to a lathicharge. No injuries were reported.

The police rounded up about several employees’ leaders.

Meanwhile, all banks and insurance companies remained closed due to the strike. Work in several government offices was also affected.

The employees of Maharshi Dayanand University also organised a gate meeting.

Panipat: Four labourers sustained injuries when the police lathicharged labourers who were observing a strike here.

Roadways employees parked buses at the entrance and exit points of the bus stand. Passengers had to board private buses.

The lathicharge took place in the morning when the labourers working in various factories at the Kabri gate gathered outside the factories to particiapte in the strike. Owners of the factories called the police following which the lathicharge took place.

Bhiwani: A strike was observed in government department, insurance companies, banks and roadways depots in protest against the anti-people policies of the state and Central governments. Traffic was blocked for about an hour.

Fatehabad: The strike call by the National Confederation of Trade Unions evoked a good response here as work remained paralysed in almost all departments of the government and offices of the public sector undertakings. The strike affected the functioning of the Haryana Roadways, DHBVN, insurance companies, banks, post offices, and other departments.

Most of the buses remained of the road. The Haryana Kisan Sabha, Khet Mazdoor Union, Lal Jhanda Brick Kiln Workers Union, All-India Democratic Women’s Association, Students Federation of India and the Democratic Youth Federation of India had given its support to the strike.

The employees held a demonstration in front of the DHBVN office, the roadways depot and at other places.

Srinagar: Work in almost all government offices and public sector undertakings in the valley was hit here, according to a UNI report.

Government offices and public sector undertakings wore a deserted look as the employees struck work in support of their demands.

The strike was observed in protest against the disengagement of the ad hoc employees, usurpation of employees’ right to go on strike and use of indiscriminate force against protesting teachers.

Shimla: The banking and insurance services were paralysed in the state.

The branches of various nationalised banks and insurance companies virtually remained closed as sufficient staff was not available.

The employees held rallies and dharnas in all major towns. In Shimla a combined rally was held in front of the main branch of the Sate Bank of India. Employees’ leaders urged the government to reverse its privatisation and “anti-worker” policies.

Reports of the strike were also received from Hisar, Yamunanagar, Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Dharamsala, Kulu, Kangra, Hoshiarpur, Batala, Jalandhar, Sangrur and Nawanshahr.

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