Trade unions to strike despite labour minister’s assurance


Union labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya’s latest effort to stop the proposed labour strike on September 2 has fallen on deaf ears.

While Dattatreya dished out how the NDA government fulfilled many promises and is on course to settle other issues, labour unions remain unimpressed.

“In the letter he mentioned that the Centre is working towards giving a minimum national wage to workers. We have been hearing this for the last one year,” said Tapan Sen, general secretary, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

The Left and Congress-affiliated unions have planned the general strike to oppose the NDA government’s economic and labour policies, exempting hospitals, medical stores, milk distribution and other emergency services from the day-long strike.

Dattatreya’s letter mentions measures like the price stabilisation fund, PM crop insurance and Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, which have been taken, while a national carrier service has been launched for generating employment.

While the minister claimed that the government is ensuring strict enforcement of all labour laws, trade unions disagree. In a letter to Dattatreya, CITU said that “no tangible proactive steps” have been taken in favour of millions of workers.

During the UPA rule, the opposition trade unions had managed to bring Congress-affiliated Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) on the streets to protest against its government.

This time, the government has found its face-saver as the RSS’ trade union arm, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, has not jumped on to the protest bandwagon.