Tuesday, April 20

Bharat Bandh today: Transport, banking services likely to be affected

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Over 25 crore workers are expected to participate in a nationwide strike on Thursday jointly called by 10 central unions protesting against various policies of the government. As several transport, bank unions are part of the strike, banking services are likely to be hit across the country. Fewer autos and taxis might be on road today. The Uttar Pradesh government, meanwhile, has extended the Essential Services Maintenance Act, banning strikes in all departments and corporations under it for a period of another six months.

Here’s all you need to know:

Who are participating in the strike?

The ten central unions include Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) and United Trade Union Congress (UTUC).

Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) will not participate in the strike.

What are the demands?

Cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month tor all non-income tax paying families and 10 kilograms free ration per person per month to all needy people.

Expansion of MGNREGA, the rural employment guarantee scheme, to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages and also extension of the employment guarantee to urban areas.

Withdrawal of all “anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes. The demands also include stopping privatisation of public sector.

Pension to all, scrapping National Pension System and the restoration of the earlier pension system are also some of the demands.

Which services will be affected?

A number of services, including industries, banking, transport, are likely to be affected as the trade unions taking part in one-day strike encompasses a large number of sectors. Farmers, Scheme workers, domestic workers, construction workers, beedi workers, hawkers, vendors, agricultural workers, self-employed in rural and urban areas, auto and taxi drivers, railway, defence employees are also supposed to participate.

Will bank services be hit?

Yes as All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) are participating in the strike. Many lenders, including IDBI Bank and Bank of Maharashtra, in regulatory filings on Wednesday said their normal working could be affected at the branches and offices.

The “Lok Sabha in its recently held session has passed three new labour enactments by dismantling existing 27 enactments in the name of ‘Ease of Business’, which are purely in the interest of corporates.” In the process, 75 per cent of workers are being pushed out of the orbits of labour laws since they will have no legal protection under the new enactment,” the AIBEA said in a release.The association represents the majority of the banks, except State Bank of India (SBI) and Indian Overseas Bank.It has four lakh bank employees from various public and old private sectors and a few foreign banks as its members.

“If strike materialises, the normal functioning of the bank branches and offices is likely to be affected. The bank is taking all necessary steps to minimise the impact of strike so as to provide the normal banking services to its customers,” the Bank of Maharashtra said in a filing.