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Posted at: Jan 9, 2019, 8:38 AM; last updated: Jan 9, 2019, 8:38 AM (IST)

Trade unions begin two-day strike

Hold march against the Union government’s ‘anti-worker’ policies, unilateral labour reforms

Sukhmeet Bhasin

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, January 8

On the call given by various trade unions across the country, employees of different departments launched a two-day strike in the district.

The protesters on Tuesday took out a march against the Union government’s alleged anti-worker policies and unilateral labour reforms.

Various trade unions and Central State Governments’ Employees’ Federation jointly staged protest against the anti-farmer, employment and development polices of the Union government.

Trade unions, including INTEK, ATM, ACTU, CITU and other Punjab trade unions participated in the protest.

A large number of protesters gathered at Teachers Home, after which they took out a march, passing from Fauji Chowk, Bus Stand and blocked road near the Deputy Commissioner’s office.

Later, they also blocked the road for sometime near the District Administrative Complex and affected the flow of traffic on the main GT Road. The police also faced problems in controlling the traffic.

While addressing the protesters, union leader Sukhdev Singh alleged that the Union Government was suppressing their rights to make big corporate houses happy.

He also claimed that the Union Government was bringing amendment in labour law to suppress the democratic rights of the trade unions, which labourers have got after launching a long agitation.

Further, protesters alleged that the Union Government was deliberately weakening the Labour Department machinery, which implements labour law in a systematic manner.

After the GST and demonetisation, many have become unemployed, which has led to drop in country’s economy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is largely responsible for this, they said.

The protesters demanded that the cost of basic commodities should be reduced; jobs of temporary workers should be regularized; Rs 18,000 allowance should be given’ anti labour amendments should be taken back in labour law; Factory Act should be imposed on brick-kiln owners; and Swaminathan Commission report should be implemented.

LIC employees also staged a protest outside their office in the city. While addressing the protesters, Gopal Rana said as per the call from the unions, LIC employees were on a two-day strike. He said unions were irked over the wrong polices of the Union Government.

He said for the past many years, no new recruitment had been done in the LIC. He alleged that even the state government also didn’t think about the public interest as Punjab’s farmer who feed the nation are in trouble and facing many issues.

Rana said no work would take place in the LIC office for two days.

On the call given by the All-India Bank Employees Association, All-India Insurance Employees Association, Bank Employees Federation of India and General Insurance Employees All-India Association also observed the strike.

They gathered outside the branch of Union Bank of India on the GT Road, where they staged a protest and criticised economic policies of the government.

Employees demanded strengthening of the public sectors and adequate recruitment of staff in banks.

Medical representatives launch protest

On the call of Federation of Medical Representatives, members of the Punjab Chandigarh Sales Representative Union, under the banner of PCMSRU, on Tuesday staged a protest at Gandhi Market on the first day of the two-day strike.

The protest was held under the leadership of union president Amritpal Singh and secretary Dr Ganesh.

They demanded that in times of such skyrocketing inflation, medicine should be brought out of GST and it should not even be imposed on medical devices.

They also demanded that the CPI Act should be implemented, medical representatives should be given skilled worker status and time of working of MRs should be fixed.

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