Millions of Indian workers strike for rights.
One-day walkout to hit transport, banks and post offices, as unions seek better rights and protest over rising prices.
Millions of workers in India have begun a 24-hour strike to demand improved rights for employees and to protest over rising prices.
Tuesday’s strike, one of the biggest in recent times, is being backed by all 11 major trade unions in the country, including the left affiliated All India Trade Union Congress [AITUC] and Indian National Trade Union Congress [INTUC] linked to ruling Congress party, local television station NDTV said.
The strike marks the latest test for Manmohan Singh’s government, which has has been shaken by a succession of corruption scandals and popular protests since the prime minister’s Congress party won a second term in 2009.
The government’s appeal on Monday failed to impress the unions, who want the government to take measures to contain inflation, provide universal social security cover for workers in the vast unorganised labour sector, and to stop selling stakes in state-run companies.
“We will have to think about our future course of action if the government does not come forward with proposals on how it will react to our demands,” G Sanjeeva Reddy, president of INTUC, told Reuters news agency.
The strike threatens to disrupt transport and port operations, while banks and post offices could also be closed.
Workers from state-run telecom companies and postal department will also join the shutdown, which comes amid weakening economic growth and a slew of state-level elections.
Last week, the country’s labour minister said the government was ready for talks on any labour-related issues, NDTV website reported.
But AITUC leader Gurudas Dasgupta rejected it saying, “The government had enough opportunity earlier to sit with unions to discuss the issues”.