VISAKHAPATNAM:The day-long nationwide strike called by all the trade unions in the country, except BMS, protesting the NDA Government’s reforms in the labour laws demanding stopping disinvestment and a minimum wage of Rs 15,000 to contract workers, registered good response in the North Andhra region Wednesday. All the trade unions and their affiliates participated in the strike and over 95 per cent of the works in all industries were affected. As many as 315 persons were arrested in the three districts. However, they were released post-lunch. In Gajuwaka industrial area, the police arrested 57 persons who tried to stop buses and for disturbing traffic.
Supporting the strike, the APNGOs staged dharnas and demonstrations at the collectorates in the three districts. Banking and insurance operations were hit. As school buses were stopped at some places, the managements announced holiday to the schools. Some of the colleges were also shut down. Auto-rickshaws were off the roads in the morning time. Otherwise, normal life was not affected much as RTC bus services were normal.
However, thousands of workers staged dharnas, rallies and organised gate meetings and raised slogans against the government. Senior CITU, AITUC, CPM and CPI leaders led the protests. At a massive rally at Isukathota junction in the city, AITUC state general secretary B Obulesu said that the NDA and the TDP Governments were implementing anti-worker policies, robbing the livelihood of crores of workers.
During the 2014 general elections, Narendra Modi and Chandrababu Naidu made promises to the people and even after more than a year, both the governments were yet to solve serious issues of the workers. The entire workforce, irrespective of the affiliations, would fight against the reforms in the labour laws, Obulesu said.
CPM state secretariat member Ch Narasinga Rao, at various protest meetings, said that the strike across the north coastal region was a grand success. He also said that the strike across the country registered good response and asked the NDA government to drop the proposed reforms in the labour laws, considering the success of the general strike across the country. Work and production units in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam Port, Gangavaram Port and at all the public sector units were affected.
The East Coast Shramik Congress, expressing solidarity, staged a dharna at the DRM office at Dondaparthy. The LIC Employees Union, National Banks Employees Unions and BSNL Employees Unions also staged dharnas in the morning hours.
In Srikakulam district, the strike was observed at all the industrial units. As many as 50,000 workers participated. At Pydibheemavaram, the police resorted to mild lathicharge to clear mobs. Tension prevailed in the morning at Aurobindo Pharma company when workers tried to stop the executives and officers from attending office at the main gate, forcing the police to disperse the crowds by using lathicharge.