The nationwide strike called by Left-affiliated central trade unions against ‘anti-labour policies’ of the government has stranded parts of Bengaluru City, especially those who depend on public transport.

 

Traders and daily wage earners were the most affected as they had to stay at home, or, in few cases, be dropped to workplaces by family members.

 

"The labouring class here depends on public transport. Today, although essential commodities like milk and vegetables were available, there were very few customers." said Idrees Chaudry, General Secretary, All Market Associations in Bengaluru.

 

"A few hotels and restaurants, which regularly come, did not turn up. The labourers who work in the market also were on leave," said Idrees.

 

With many Group D workers, nurses in the hospitals, employees in public sector companies like HAL or BEML staying back home or going on a long leave thanks to the upcoming Gowri and Ganesha festival, city roads wore a deserted look in many places.

 

As banks have already remained closed, ATMs witnessed heavy foot traffic, and the few petrol bunks that remained opened were similarly swamped. 

 

Many autorickshaw unions in large cities such as Delhi, Bengaluru and Hyderabad also were off the roads on Friday.

 

The Railways had opted out of the strike, so trains services were running smoothly. The Bengaluru Metro Rail Services were available as usual.


Bengaluru police on guard:

 

With the festival season in mind, the city police do not want to take any chances and have deputed 40 KSRP, 30 CRP, 1,000 Home Guards and Armed forces in vulnerable locations.

 

"The strike is a big thing, and the police is aware that festivals are around the corner. So we will not take any chances. Malls, bus terminals, famous temples and places where a large public gathering is expected will be under a security blanket to ensure no untoward incident. All Deputy Commissioners of Police were briefed about the security measures on Thursday" said NS Meghrik, City Police Commissioner.  

 

Demands: 

 

Trade unions have opposed the government’s proposal to hike minimum wage for unskilled workers by 20 per cent to Rs 12,000 per month for Tier-I cities. 

 

They are demanding a slightly higher hike, in view of the recent rise in prices. The unions are demanding social security for workers and a minimum wage of not less than Rs 18,000 per month. 

 

They also want an assured enhanced pension of not less than Rs 3,000 per month for all sectors, including unorganised workers. They also want FDI to be removed from Railways, Defense and other “strategic sectors”.