Monday, February 18, 2013

DATED 19/02/2013 NEW DELHI: Ignoring Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal to call off the proposed two-day strike, central trade unions on Monday remained firm on their call even after union leaders met with three senior Union ministers on Monday night.

While the ministers offered to look into the demands of the striking unions, with no talk of concrete assurances, the 11 unions cutting across party lines decided to go ahead with the 48-hour strike on February 20 and 21.

The PM had made an appeal on Sunday to all the 11 trade unions to withdraw their call for a nation-wide strike from February 20, saying it would cause loss to the economy and inconvenience to the general public.

The PM had also requested his senior cabinet colleagues A K Antony, Sharad Pawar, P Chidambaram and labour minister Mallikarjun Kharge to hold discussions with representatives of labour unions who have called the stir on issues of price rise issue and violation of labour laws.

"We met defence minister A K Antony to discuss the assurance given by prime minister that issues raised by labour unions are being looked into. But the strike is still there. We have not called it off," CITU general secretary Tapan Sen told reporters. Before the meeting, he had said the labour unions were waiting for some concrete action by the government.

AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said the "strike is on, they had nothing to offer and Chidambaram was conspicuous by his absence."

"We have called the strike for certain demands. Let us see what the government has to say and offer us. Let us see what does it think about our demands. Strike cannot be called off only on basis of a meeting with senior ministers," Sen said before the meeting.

The strike has been called jointly by Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), 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) and other such organizations. The Independent Federation of Workers and Employees too has joined the protests.


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