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Strike impacts normal life in Kerala, West Bengal; banking operations hit

A nationwide strike by trade unions in protest against the BJP-led Centre's economic policies on Thursday hit normal life in Kerala, parts of West Bengal, Assam and Telangana as public transport went off-road and banking services were disrupted.

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 26-11-2020 20:59 IST | Created: 26-11-2020 20:52 IST
Strike impacts normal life in Kerala, West Bengal; banking operations hit
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

A nationwide strike by trade unions in protest against the BJP-led Centre's economic policies on Thursday hit normal life in Kerala, parts of West Bengal, Assam and Telangana as public transport went off-road and banking services were disrupted. All government offices and major business establishments remained closed across Left-ruled Kerala, where public transport also went off the road.

West Bengal witnessed sporadic clashes in several parts as Left unions took out rallies, disrupting vehicular movement and forcing shopkeepers to down the shutters. The strike also partially affected normal life in Odisha, Puducherry, Assam and Telangana.

With bank unions joining the stir, banking operations in Kerala, West Bengal and north-eastern states were hit. Operations such as cash deposits and withdrawal and cheque clearances were impacted. In other parts of the country, the strike had little effect, but reports suggested that several bank branches witnessed a limited impact.

Bank unions claimed that in the clearing grids, about 20 lakh cheques worth about Rs 18,000 crore could not be sent for clearance due to the strike. Even ATMs in some parts of the country went dry. However, the country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) and private sector banks were functional.

In Tamil Nadu, banks were closed in 16 districts as the government declared a holiday due to cyclone Nivar, while in Maharashtra, 30,000 bank employees joined the strike and demonstrated before their respective branches. The day-long countrywide strike has been called by a joint platform of ten central trade unions to protest against the central government's new farm and labour laws, among other workers-related issues, as well as to raise various demands.

Various independent federations and associations are also part of the joint platform. "The states of Kerala, Puducherry, Odisha, Assam and Telangana have reported complete shutdown. Tamil Nadu reported complete shut down in 13 districts, while the industrial strike continues in the rest of the districts. Punjab and Haryana have reported that the state road transport buses have not left their depots in the morning," a joint statement issued by the trade unions said.

Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh reported 100 per cent strike, including at BALCO, the statement said. Normal life was affected in West Bengal and Tripura, and sporadic incidents of clashes were reported in West Bengal, according to reports.

Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC) and Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) are part of the joint platform. Others are All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC).

BJP-aligned Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) did not participate in the strike. Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) General Secretary Harbhajan Singh Sidhu told PTI that the number of workers who joined the nationwide agitation on Thursday exceeded the expected number of 25 crore.

He also said that coal mine workers along with those from the defence, railways and other public sectors have also supported the strike. Scheme workers, electricity employees, domestic workers, construction workers, beedi workers, hawkers, vendors, agricultural workers, self-employed in rural and urban India are holding demonstrations at various places, even defying police restrictions, the statement said.

At many places, the auto and taxi drivers have remained off the road. Railway and defence employees have held demonstrations in support of the strike at their respective places of work. As per the statement, operations of financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies have also been affected.

Besides state government and central government employees, those from the Income Tax Department and other PSU workers are participating in the strike in a big way, the unions claimed. "Reports of a successful strike in coal and copper mines, including other mineral resource mines, have been received. The employees of postal, telecom and steel sector were also in action and Gramin dak sevaks observed 100 per cent strike," the statement said.

In several places, oil sector unions also observed the strike. Workers also resorted to picketing in some parts of the country. Further, the statement said that the total number of workers who have joined the strike at over 25 crore exceeds the number of those participating in a similar strike on January 8.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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