Offering to hold talks with them, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appealed to the protesting trade unions to withdraw their two-day strike beginning on Wednesday.
Eleven central trade unions and workers’ federations have called a nationwide two-day strike starting from February 20, in protest against the Centre’s inaction on price rise and violation of labour laws.
“I appeal to the central trade unions to withdraw their call for a countrywide general strike on February 20 and 21. Such a strike would lead to avoidable loss to our economy and inconvenience to the public through disruption of services,” the Prime Minster said in his message.
Manmohan said he has requested his cabinet colleagues A K Antony, P Chidambaram, Sharad Pawar, and Mallikarjun Kharge to hold discussions with the unions. “I am confident that these discussions would result in a course of action that is acceptable both to the trade unions and the government,” he said.
He also said some of the issues raised by the trade unions are already being addressed and others are at various stages of consideration.
On Saturday, AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said it was for the first time all the trade unions had come together for a two-day strike “as the government has not taken any action to look into the problems of sky-rise inflation, disinvestment in Public Sector Units and the non-implementation of labour laws”.
The strike has been jointly called by the All India Trade Union Congress, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India United Trade Union Centre, Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, Hind Mazdoor Sabha and other such organisations.