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Nationwide one day strike on February 2 to protest against privatisation

Labour News Network, submitted by elvee on 30-Jan-2000

Three major national trade unions centres in India - The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) owing allegiance to Communist Party of India (formerly associated with Soviet CPSU), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) owing allegiance to Communist Party of India (Marxist) (presently ruling two states - West Bengal and Tripura in India), and Hind Mazdoor Sabha affiliated to ICFTU and largely composed of leaders owing allegiances to different former socialist groups, which are going by various names now as Janata Party with some prefixes and suffixes.

Despite the government assuring them that their demands would be communicated to appropriate authorities, the three national trade unons are going ahead with their strike decision. According to Dr. M.K. Pandhe, General Secretary CITU, talks with the government on wages, and privatisation have failed therefore the unions are firm on the protest, [a] one-day nation-wide strike.

One public-sector officers association (managerial staff) are also joining the strike. Some public sector officers have leaders who have closer links with CITU.

Full details with regard to wage talks were not released by the unions. The Congress Party-led Indian National Trade Unons Congress (INTUC) and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) owing allegiance to Bharatiya Jana Party are not supporting the strike, though they have identical views on some aspects of privatisation.

Congress party presently led by Mrs Sonia Gandhi does not want to be seen to opposing privatisation and liberalisation as it is her party which began economic reforms and liberalisation of the economy in 1992, [and] therefore seems to have advised her trade union front to join with the communists in the present moment. BMS as a national trade union centre do have more or less same attitude approach to opening up certain sectors of the economy as the leftist unions, yet BMS leaders apparantely do not want their party to be embarassed at the present moment and their workers seen with the communist-led workers.