The all India strike called by major trade unions together just showed the divide between the classes of workers on Tuesday. While most of the upper grade officials in the government as well as private sector reported for work, workers in sectors like mining, tea and construction were the ones who decided to stand up against the government’s order of not going on strike.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had warned the state government employees from going on strike and most of the upper grade employees in banks, post offices and communication department reported in their offices.
“There is no strike at all, everything is open. All the buses, trains, taxis are running. The flights have also operated totally according to schedule. The presence of government employees in the offices has been near about 100 percent,” Mamata told a press conference in the evening.
However, low grade workers in sectors like coal, power generation and construction showed their solidarity with the call given by the trade unions. “We got great support from coal miners, electricity generation and transport sector,” said G Sanjeev Reddy, president of the Indian National Trade Union Congress.
Eleven central trade unions and 5,000 smaller unions had called for a day-long strike after the government could not reach consensus on various issue raised by the union leaders.
The trade unions have been demanding minimum wages of Rs 10,000 per person as against Rs3,000-Rs 3,500 in different states. Among others, the unions are demanding abolishment of contract labour and making all 5 crore contract labourers permanent in places of their work.
The striking trade unions include the Left party supported CITU, UTUC, AITUC, and Congress’s INTUC, besides BMS, HMS, TUCI and NLO.
The trade unions are unhappy with the UPA government for not moving ahead with the implementation of Contract Labour Amendment Act, which will provide equal rights and wages to the contract labourers.