Kolkata, January 7: The Bharat Bandh or nationwide shutdown called by agricultural unions, trade bodies and central government workers' unions is scheduled for tomorrow (January 7) and Wednesday (January 8). The Left-dominated states of Kerala and West Bengal brace for the maximum impact of the shutdown.
Among major unions which have issued the shutdown call are those affiliated to the CPI, CPI(M), All India Forward Bloc and the Socialist Party of India. The Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) said it expects the participation of 20 crore workers, including those from the unorganised sector. Karnataka Braces For Trade Unions Hartal, KSRTC, BMTC Bus to Stay Off Roads, What is Open And Shut.
The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) has also extended support to the bandh. The union's general secretary Amarjeet Kaur said it expects all affiliated to trade bodies, including those in the banking sector.
CITU chief Tapan Sen said the strike has been called by them to protest against the alleged anti-worker and anti-labour policies of the Narendra Modi government. Their key point of contention is the Trade Unions (Amendment) Bill, 2018, which intends to further weaken the trade unions and turn labours in the unorganised sector into "slaves", Sen said.
Apart from the trade unions, the two prime agrarian outfits - All India Kisan Sabha and Bhumi Adhikar Andolan - have also decided to participate in the Bharat Bandh to protest against the lack of steps taken by the Centre to ensure adequate remunerative prices to the farmers.
In West Bengal, the cadres affiliated to AIKS are expected to stage rail roko and rasta roko agitations to mark their dissent against the Centre. In Kerala, the CPM-led state government has supported the agitation and given a free-hand to employees in the public sector to remain absent for participating in the protests.