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January 9 was a day of strikes. Here's why

PW Bureau

Employees from the banking, transport and other industrial sectors avoided going to work, with many blocking train tracks and highways New Delhi/Bengaluru: Trade unions in India staged a full-day walkout in protest against the Centre’s “anti-labour” policies they believe have impacted life across the country. At least 10 Central trade unions said that union members from the coal, mines, petroleum, telecom, manufacturing, electricity, steel, defence and government schemes joined the nationwide strike. Employees from the banking, transport and other industrial sectors avoided going to work, with many blocking train tracks and highways. The banking sector, which has been on strike in protest against the merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda (BoB), reportedly saw close to 400,000 staff members, mostly from state-run banks, joining the strike, bank unions said. “At least Rs 21,000 crore of cheques could not be cleared today because of the strike and, by the end of Wednesday evening, this amount will double,” said CH Venkatachalam of All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). Venkatachalam added that bank employees have been hit “200 crore per day in terms of salary loss”, but they believe they are serving a greater purpose by working for the community. Amarjeet Kaur, secretary, All India Trade Union Congress, a central union, says the unions had called for a rise in the monthly minimum wage to 18,000 rupees for all employees, along with other demands such as ending job outsourcing and privatization of state-run firms. “Most sectoral unions, including those from banks and the insurance sector, are on strike in solidarity with trade unions and are demanding in unison the fulfilment of the 12-point charter of demands, including a stop to outsourcing of jobs, privatization of state-run firms, and minimum wage of Rs 18,000 for all employees,” said Amarjeet Kaur, secretary, All India Trade Union Congress, a central union.