The central trade unions have called for an all-India general strike on Wednesday, January 8, protesting the recent changes in the labour and banking policies by the Modi-led government. According to reports, ten central trade unions have agreed to participate in the "Bharat Bandh" protest against anti-labour policies' of the government.
Lakhs of workers will be a part of the upcoming Bharat Bandh protest, which will witness government employees, bank employees, teachers and workers from various sectors like steel and railways press for their demands. In addition to the central trade unions and several bank unions, various Left parties have also extended their support to the strike.
What is closed/open during Bharat Bandh?
Since the Bharat Bandh strike involves protest against government's new bank reforms, several bank unions are expected to join the all-India general strike. As a result, banking services will take a hit on January 8. However, India's largest bank, State Bank of India (SBI), announced last week that the strike would have minimal effect on its operations. Syndicate Bank and Bank of Baroda warned its offices might get impacted by the strike even though it is ensuring the smooth functioning of bank operations.
ATM services in some places are also likely to be impacted by the strike. But online banking services such as NEFT will function normally.
Schools and colleges are also likely to be affected by the strike but check for an official circular from respective academic institutions.
There's no word on whether public transport will be effected on the day of the strike, but tensions could disrupt the normal functioning of transport. Same for petrol bunks across India. However, personal sectors could remain unaffected during the strike. The emergency services like supply of milk, public transport, availability of medicine, ambulance and hospital services will not be affected. Ola and Uber will observe Bharath Bandh business as usual.
Unions participating in Bharat Bandh
The central unions participating in the protest include All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC). As many as 20 crore protestors are expected to join the strike.
In the banking sector, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC) and Bank Karmachari Sena Mahasangh (BKSM) have agreed to go on strike on Wednesday, Indian Bank's Association said in a statement to SBI.
What are the demands?
The primary purpose for calling Bharat Bandh strike is to get the government to drop the proposed labour reforms, which proposes to merge 44 labour laws into four codes - wages, industrial relations, social security and safe working conditions - and the outcome supports corporate houses.
Additionally, the unions demand the minimum wage be raised from Rs 21,000 to Rs 24,000 per month, stop the privatisation of public sector undertakings, abolish CAA, NRC and NPR. The strike is taking place as the talks between the government and union leaders failed and none of the concerns raised by the unions was discussed.
Note: This article will be updated with any information about the upcoming Bharat Bandh strike.