A daylong nationwide strike impacted normal life on Wednesday in various parts of India with coal production, banking operations and transport services being hit the most, while violent clashes erupted in West Bengal resulting in arrest of more than 200 people.
Union leaders claimed more than 150 million organised sector workers went on strike, the call for which was given by 10 central trade unions against changes in labour laws and PSU privatisation along with their other demands. The Bharatiya Janata Party-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and NFITU, however, stayed away from the strike.
The impact was most visible in West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala, Karnataka, Puducherry and Odisha, while partial impact was seen in Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand.
Normal life was affected in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Rajasthan as well, but there was not much impact in the country’s financial capital Mumbai except for the banking operations.
Banking services were among the worst hit as 23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and ore than 13,000 cooperative banks joined the stir. However, staff at the State Band of India, Indian Overseas Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank choose to stay away from the strike.
The All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary, C.H. Venkatachalam, said nearly 500,000 bank employees and officers joined the strike.
The state-run Coal India saw nearly half of its 1.7 million tonne daily production hit by the strike, as a majority of around 400,000 coal workers across the country joined the strike. Union leaders, however, said the impact could be 90 per cent at Coal India, which accounts for 80 per cent of the country’s total coal production.