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Govt appeals to unions to call off Wednesday’s strike

bandaru-dattatreya-rna

New Delhi: Government on Tuesday said it does not see much impact on essential services because of the decision of 10 central trade unions to go ahead with one-day nationwide strike tomorrow even as it appealed to them to withdraw the call in workers’ and the nation’s interest.

It also indicated that talks with trade unions will continue even if they go on nationwide strike tomorrow where 15 crore formal sector workers will participate in the action against the changes in labour laws.

The unions said however that the strike will affect the functioning of essential services like transport, banking and supply of power, gas and oil.

“I don’t think essential services will be affected by the strike. I feel that the impact will not be much. I appeal to them to call off the strike in the interest of workers and nation,” Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told reporters here.

On the likely impact of the strike, he said: “The BMS and National Front of Indian Trade Unions are not in strike. Besides there are 2-4 organisations (unions) which are neutral”, without naming them.

“We don’t want any confrontation with trade unions. The workers’ rights and interests are supreme to us. We will continue talks with trade unions even after tomorrow’s strike,” Dattatreya said.

About the issues raised by central trade unions in their 12-point charter of demands, he said, “There are many initiatives including mandatory minimum wages and raising ceiling of bonus and social security of workers which were appreciated by the unions.”

On labour law reforms, he said, “Labour law reforms are in the pipeline and are at discussion stage. Even the Prime Minister has said that it would be done on the basis of tripartite consultations.”

As many as 12 central trade unions had given the strike call over a 12-points charter of demands, including withdrawal of the proposed anti-worker amendments in labour laws and stopping the disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs.

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) later pulled out saying the government needed to be given time to fulfil its promises on the basic demands. The National Front of Indian Trade Unions will also stay out.

–PTI