All India Bharat Bandh would be observed by over 15 Crores Public and Private Sector workers under the banner of 10 Central Trade unions against the changes in Labour Laws. The massive strike has the potential to completely cripple the functioning of country, even though essential services have been kept out of the purview of the strike. Workers in Banks and Insurance Sectors will also observe strike, however Railway workers wont take part in the Bandh or Hartal.
Workers associated with Bharatiya Majdoor Sangh and The National Front of Indian Trade Unions will stay out of the Bandh called by other trade unions.
Union leaders said the strike will affect the functioning of essential services like transport and supply of power, gas and oil, even as BMS claimed that power, oil and gas supplies will not be affected as a large number of public sector workers in these areas would not participate in the industrial action.
As many as 12 central trade unions had given this strike call over a 12-points charter of demands, including withdrawal of the proposed anti-worker amendments in labour laws and stopping the disinvestment and privatization of PSUs. Employees of public sector banks and government-owned non-life insurance companies would go on strike. 14 unions in the banking sector have given a call for the September 2 strike.
BMS later pulled out saying the government needed to be given time to fulfil its promises on the basic demands. The National Front of Indian Trade Unions will also stay out.
Charter of Demands
The 12 point charter of demands is as follows:
Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market
Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation
Strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation of labour laws.
Universal social security cover for all workers
Minimum wages of not less than Rs 15,000/- per month with provisions of indexation
Assured enhanced pension not less than Rs.3,000/- p.m. for the entire working population
Stoppage of disinvestment in Central/State PSUs
Stoppage of contractorisation in permanent perennial work and payment of same wage and benefits for contract workers as regular workers for same and similar work
Removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund; increase the quantum of gratuity.
Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting application; and immediate ratification of ILO Conventions C 87 and C 98
Stoppage of Pro Employer Labour Law Amendments
Stoppage of FDI in Railways, Insurance and Defence
In addition to these the central trade unions are also demanding the withdrawal of the Land Acquisition amendment bill/ordinance.
Speaking on behalf of other unions, All India Trade Union secretary DL Sachdev said that all ten central trade unions recognized by government will go on strike on Wednesday.
He claimed that “many state units of BMS will also join the strike”.
Earlier in the day, BMS general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay told reporters that “a large number of public sector undertakings who are members of central trade unions are not going on strike tomorrow. Thus, the services like power, oil and gas supply will not be affected. Big PSUs like NTPC, NHPC and PowerGrid will not observe the strike.”
Upadhyay said the National Front of Indian Trade Unions has also decided not to go on strike and wants to give some time to government, at least till the winter session of Parliament, for fulfilling its assurances like uniform minimum wages across the board and enhancing wage ceiling for bonus.
Many private schools, colleges have declared holiday on September 2nd. Shops, markets will be closed. Public sector banks and government-owned non-life insurance companies also will be closed. West Bengal Government has issued directive to employees making it mandatory for them to be present at office on September 2.
Road Transport Workers will be participating in the strike enmasse. After the most successful countrywide strike of Road Transport Workers on 30th April, when workers from State Government undertakings, private and also of self employed sections participated, this is the second time they are participating in the strike.
Taxi operators in Goa are also going to join the strike to oppose the Road Transport Safety Bill 2014 and civilian defence employees are joining the strike demanding a withdrawal of FDI in defence manufacturing, to reverse privatisation of defence manufacturing. The civilian workforce of 41 defence ordinance factories, 52 DRDO labs, naval dockyards, military engineering services as well as defence workshops and depots.