Bengaluru braces for trade unions’ shutdown on Wednesday

Courtesy/News Source:

Bengaluru, Jan 8 (IANS) The city police stepped up security and heightened vigil to maintain law and order and prevent untoward incidents during the day-long all-India shutdown on Wednesday, a top police official said.

“The trade unions and others will not be allowed to take processions or disrupt normal life, including taxis, bus and metro rail services, suburban trains, opening up of shops, markets, malls, theatres, hotels and eateries,” Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao told reporters here.

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Indian National Trade Union Congress and Labour Progressive Federation (LPF) have given an all-India shutdown (Bharat Bandh) call on Wednesday to protest against the Central government’s anti-labour policies and attempts to privatise state-run undertakings.

The trade unions, however, will be allowed to stage protests, demonstration and public meetings at the Freedom Park in the city peacefully.

Many social and civic organisations, including a pro-Kannada front are supporting the shutdown in protest against the CAA, NRC and NPA and extending their solidarity to the trade unions.

“The unions will not be allowed to disrupt normal life, stop buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws from plying, prevent opening up of shops, commercial establishments, offices, hotels, restaurants, eateries, cinema theatres and petrol bunks,” asserted Rao.

State Education Minister Suresh Kumar said all government and private schools and colleges will function and exams due on Wednesday would be held as scheduled.

“Police has been directed to provide security and deploy their personnel outside colleges and universities to ensure students are not stopped from attending classes,” Kumar told reporters here.

Thousands of workers from across the sectors, including women in the garment industry will join the shutdown and stage demo against the state and central government in support of their demands and against anti-labour laws.

“We want the state and central governments to raise the minimum wage to Rs 24,000 per month as cost of living and expenses on basic needs such education, health and housing have become prohibitive,” AITCU leader Ananth Subbarao told IANS.

Several state-run bank employees, excluding those of State Bank of India (SBI) are set to participate in the shutdown to protest against the merger of banks and closure of their branches across the country.

“Pro-farmers organisations will also join us in the shutdown to highlight the agrarian crisis gripping the farm sector. Similarly, hundreds of workers in the unorganised sector will participate in the protest rally,” said Subbarao.

Agricultural markets, wholesale market yards, Peenya industrial area and hundreds of small and medium enterprises will remain shut, affecting daily wage workers and employees.

Essential supplies, including milk, vegetables, commodities, hospitals, medical shops and provision stores are exempted from the shutdown to avoid affecting normal life.

The state government has, however, invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to prevent disruption of public transport and emergency services.

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