Trade unions gearing up for September 2 strike

Chennai, Aug 31 (IANS) The major trade unions in the country have decided to go ahead with their nationwide strike on Sept 2 while the BMS, affiliated to the ruling BJP, has decided to stay away, said a top leader of Labour Progressive Front (LPF) on Wednesday.

The LPF, a major labour force in Tamil Nadu, is affiliated to DMK.

“The BJP-led central government could have at least acceded to three or four of our demands. On the other hand, it is just a farce to announce minimum wages for unskilled non-farm workers at Rs 350 per day,” LPF General Secretary M.Shanmugam told IANS.

He said the BMS, the labour wing of the RSS, has not been participating in nationwide strikes ever since the BJP came to power.

“It was not so with the INTUC, affiliated to the Congress party. The union used to participate in the strike called by major trade unions,” Shanmugam added.

He said the trade unions have submitted 12 demands to the government and they are pending for a long time.

“The BJP government could have at least implemented some of the decisions taken by the Congress led UPA government,” he said, adding that it could have amended the Payment of Bonus Act so that increase in bonus ceiling could have been part of a notification and not part of an act needed amendment at regular intervals.

Similarly the registration of trade unions could have been made simpler but not done, he added.

Reacting to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s comments that bank mergers need not be the concern of bank unions, C.H.Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association, told IANS: “It just shows the continuing feudal outlook of those in the power when in comes to the worker’s unions.”

“It is not only the employees of the associate banks of State Bank of India (SBI) who have raised their voice against the merger with SBI. Even the Kerala and Telangana governments have taken up the issue,” he said.

Venkatachalam said that it has been seen whenever an Indian company takes over a foreign company, they hold talks with the worker’s union there, but such a thing does not happen here.

“Employees and their representatives are also stakeholders in banks. Further no meeting has been held with the unions on the aspect of service condition parity when the five associate banks of SBI are merged with the latter,” he added.

Around five lakh bankers will go on strike on September 2 protesting against the central government’s economic polices and anti-labour reform measures, he said.

–IANS

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