As many as ten central trade unions have called for a nationwide strike on Wednesday and banking and ATM services are likely to be hit.
The bandh has been called against the government’s “disinvestment, privatisation and labour reform policies”, according to NDTV, and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said about 25 crore people are expected to participate.
Tapan Sen, General Secretary of CITU, told NDTV that the strike will be valid from the first working shift — starting 6 am on Wednesday.
Banking services like deposit and withdrawal and cheque clearing are expected to be impacted due to the strike. While the State Bank of India (SBI) said the impact on bank operations will be minimal, according to Livemint, Bank of Baroda fears that the functioning of its branches may be affected or even paralysed.
Netbanking services are unlikely to be affected.
No school holidays have been announced due to Bharat Bandh as of now, as Moneycontrol pointed out.
The government has, meanwhile, asked public sector undertakings to dissuade their employees from participating in the bandh. A memorandum issues by the government said employees going on strike would face consequences. Apart from deduction of wages, it may also include appropriate disciplinary action, reported PTI.
Why are the trade unions protesting?
In a joint statement carried by PTI, the trade unions said the “attitude of the government is that of contempt towards labour as we construe from its policies and actions”.
One of the key demands, according to News18, is to increase the minimum wage of workers and the minimum monthly pension to Rs 6,000. The unions have also demanded ‘worker’ status for all scheme workers who are otherwise not protected by most labour laws in the country, the report added.
The unions have also expressed displeasure over no Indian Labour Conference being held since July 2015, codification of labour laws and privatisation of PSUs.
The unions are also against privatisation in railways, corporatisation of 49 defence production units and forced merger of banks, according to PTI.
Maitreyi Krishnan, a lawyer working with one of the unions, told The News Minute the main demand is dropping the proposed labour reforms.
(With PTI inputs)