NEW DELHI, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) — Normal life in India was severely affected Wednesday as a nation-wide strike by trade unions was staged to protest labor law reform and privatization of public sectors by the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Ten major trade unions’ leaders claimed that around 150 million workers are on the day-long strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands.
The day-long strike was seen affecting transport and banking operations among other services in many states across India.
In the eastern metropolis of Kolkata, partial impact was seen on suburban trains while shops, markets and business establishments in most areas remained closed, said Press Trust of India.
In New Delhi, commuters faced problems as a large number of auto rickshaws and taxis remained off the roads.
In the southern state of Kerala, public and private bus services, taxis and auto rickshaws were off the roads, while shops, hotels and even small tea stalls were closed in the state.
While the government had appealed to trade unions to call off the agitation in the interest of workers and nation, the unions however decided to go ahead with the strike as their talks with a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last month did not make any headway.
Trade unions’ demands include urgent measures to contain price rise and unemployment, strict enforcement of basic labor laws, universal social security cover for all workers, minimum wage of 15,000 rupees (230 U.S. dollars) per month and stopping privatization and disinvestment in public sectors.
Meanwhile, banking union leaders said strike in the banking and insurance sector on Wednesday has begun on a very encouraging note signifying a total success in major cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Kolkata.