Trade unions’ strike disrupts life in India’s leftist-ruled states
Millions of Indian workers and government employees went on a strike across India on August 20th that paralyzed life in the country’s three communist-ruled states, media reports said. Eight major leftist trade unions and bank, airport and railway employees called the strike to protest soaring double-digit inflation and what they called the central government’s ‘anti-worker’ economic policies. They also protested a recent 21 per cent wage hike for government officials which strikers said did not include junior staff. There was a complete shutdown in the communist-governed states of West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala, but rail, road and air services remained largely unaffected in the rest of the country, the PTI news agency reported. Local news outlets estimated that more than 50 million workers, including those from the unorganized sector, peasants and government employees were participating in the strike called by All India Trade Union Congress, Centre for Industrial Trade Union and 40 employees’ federations. The strike action came more than a month after communist parties, which have been critical of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s economic reforms, withdrew parliamentary support from the coalition at the federal level.
Sources: Monster and Critics (M & C), available at www.monsterandcritics.com, 20 August 2008