IMPHAL, Feb 26: After a lull in disruptions to the normal life of the people and the state’s economy, the coordinating body of trade unions in Manipur has extended its support to the call for a nationwide dawn to dusk general strike on Feb 28. The announcement was made today at the office of CPI by the convenor of the coordinating body of trade unions, Laishram Sotin, who stated that the general strike will also be carried out in the state from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm.
The nationwide general strike is unprecedented in size and reach with almost all registered and unrecognized trade unions in India, cutting across ideological and political affiliations, have come together to press for a charter of demands. The timing of the general strike coincides with the budget session in parliament. In Manipur, the trade unions that have joined hands are AITUC, CITU, UTUC, TUCC, INTUC, BMS and HMS.
The list of demands include reining in price rise, combating corruption, strict enforcement of all basic labour laws without any exception or exemption and stringent punitive measures for violation, government aid for the creation of national social security fund for unorganized sector workers, removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund, increasing the quantum of gratuity and assured pension for all (including the private sector), workers under the centrally sponsored flagship programs must be given minimum wage and honorarium among others.
The convenor of the trade union body in Manipur, Laishram Sotin stated that the general strike will cover banks, central and state government offices, airport, businesses and market places, all modes of public transportation and railway office. He further stated that all muster roll, casual and contract workers in the state must join the strike. However, he clarified that the on going examinations are precluded from the purview of the general strike.
In a scathing attack on the government, he lamented the death kneel that all government undertakings have faced like MSRTC, cement factory, sugar mills, cycle corporation, drug and pharmaceutical corporation, etc.
The trade union bodies in Manipur have also demanded repeal of AFSPA, completion of all highway projects and instituting highway protection force, providing employment opportunities for the youths and free education to students.
In a related development, the Union Labour and Employment Minister, Mallikarjun Kharge has appealed to the trade unions to desist from the countrywide general strike. Also Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banaerjee as well the Congress party has decided to oppose the general strike.