The strikers are also demanding the government halt its plans to monetise state assets.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says privatising some state-owned banks would overhaul the banking industry and that the asset monetisation model will help raise money to spur economic growth.
All Indian Trade Union Congress, one of the largest trade unions in the country, said it was expecting more than 200 million formal and informal workers to join the strike. Demonstrations were planned in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other major cities.
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, an important trade union affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said it won’t be participating in the strike, calling it “politically motivated.”
A number of public sector banks, including India’s largest lender, the state-run State Bank of India, have said that banking services may be affected because many employees are expected to participate in the strike.
In Kerala, the roads wore a deserted look, and only a few private vehicles could be seen. The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) has halted its services.
The police have arranged for a travel facility to help people reach destinations like railway stations and hospitals.
However, the emergency services have been excluded from the strike. The Kerala High Court has restrained five unions in the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) from participating in the strike.
In West Bengal, even though the trade unions could be seen protesting on the streets, the state government has asked all offices to remain open and mandated employees to report for duty.
Members from the Left Front gathered in huge numbers and blocked railway tracks at Jadavpur Railway Station in Kolkata, in view of the two-day nationwide strike called by different trade unions.
Other than the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), almost all other trade unions are participating in the strike.
In Parliament, the CPI(M) MP Bikashranjan Bhattacharyya has moved the motion for suspension of business in Rajya Sabha under Rule 267 to discuss the issue of the two-day nationwide strike.
Likewise, the CPI MP Binoy Viswam gave a suspension of business notice in Rajya Sabha under rule 267 over the “two-day nationwide strike called by workers across the country to protest against the corporatisation and privatisation policies of the Central Government”.
Read More: Workers strike across India for labour rights, better pay