M A I N   N E W S

Strike hits life in Left bastions
Tribune News Service & PTI

  • Nationwide trade unions’ stir hits govt business
  • Over 170 flights cancelled in West Bengal, Kerala
  • Commuters left stranded at airports, stations
  • Public transport, banking sector affected in region

New Delhi/Chandigarh, September 7
Functioning of government establishments was today affected by the countrywide general strike called by eight Central trade unions, including Congress-affiliated INTUC against price rise, alleged violation of labour laws and disinvestment in PSUs.

Workers from sectors including coal, power, telecom, banks, insurance, defence, port and dock, road transport, petroleum and construction took part in the strike across the country under the banner of INTUC, AITUC, CITU, HMS, AIUTUC, TUCC, AICCTU, UTUC.

Banking operations were partially affected as employees, mainly belonging to public sector, cooperative and regional rural banks, joined the strike opposing the FDI in the banking sector and grant of licences to private banks.

Major private airliners cancelled over 170 flights from various cities to West Bengal and Kerala in the wake of the strike but national carrier Air India said its operations were not hampered due to the stir.

Air operations to and from Kolkata were crippled as private airliners like Kingfisher, Jet Airways, Jetlite, Indigo and Spicejet cancelled flights mainly to the two Left-ruled states, where normal life was badly hit by the strike which took the shape of a bandh.

Normal life was partially affected in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Public transport and banking services were the major casualties of the strike. Members of unions took out protest marches and blocked traffic in both states. Many employees affiliated to trade unions abstained from their duties. The Transport Department in Chandigarh suspended inter-state bus services as its employees went on strike. Public transport services were also hit in Punjab and Haryana as employees stayed away from their duties.

The strike also cast its shadow on banking services in the region with employees of public sector banks remaining on strike.

Reports from various parts of the region including Ludhiana, Sonepat, Hisar, Panipat, Ropar, Amritsar, Jalandhar indicated that members of trade unions carried out protest marches and blocked traffic.

“It was unprecedented and inconceivable strike all over the country. It is the unity (of the trade unions) that inspired workers to join the stir and its impact was massive,” AITUC general secretary and CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta said in New Delhi.

He claimed that life came to “standstill” at many places. “After many years, the strike hit Maharashtra. Pune was totally closed, according to our information,” he added.

INTUC president and Congress MP G Sanjeeva Reddy told PTI that he would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party president Sonia Gandhi in the next two days and discuss the issues and demands of the workers.

Meanwhile, the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the BJP and other anti-left parties opposed today’s 24-hour bandh, alleging it was politically motivated. The TMC took out processions in Kolkata and other districts against the bandh.





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