Maharashtra: Trade unions go on nationwide strike today, no major disruptions expected in transport or essential services

The Bharat Bandh called by the central trade unions to protest against the “anti-people” policies of the BJP-led NDA government on Wednesday is likely to have a mixed impact on the lives of Mumbaikars with no major disruptions expected in transport or essential services.

Last September, trade unions INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC, along with several sectoral independent federations and associations, had decided to go on a nationwide strike on January 8, 2020.

Ashok Dhawale, president of All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), said a large protest would be held at Azad Maidan to observe Bharat Bandh. “We are expecting a huge turnout… people are also angry over the JNU incident.”

Across Maharashtra, rasta roko will be held in Nashik, Kolhapur, Sangli, Pune and rural areas. “Farmers would gather to hold protest and block roads,” Dhawale said.

Transport services are not likely to face massive disruptions either. While railway unions have called for a rally on Wednesday to show solidarity with the trade union strike, officials said that the workers would either take leave for join the protest after completing their duty. Venu Nair, general secretory of National Railway Mazdoor Sangh of Central Railway, said, “We support the nationwide strike, but no commuter will be inconvenienced.”

Auto union leader Thampi Kurian said auto drivers will not participate in the strike. “It is not that we are opposing the strike but we were not asked to be a part of the protest.” Sources said auto union led by Shashank Rao will also not participate in the strike.

Hailing a cab is also not set to be difficult with union leader A L Quadrose maintaining that his union, Mumbai Taximens’ union, will not participate in the protest.

Banking operations may, however, suffer as 10 central trade unions, with support from Left parties, have decided to go on strike. With banks shut, ATM and branch services might be affected.

Meanwhile, the state government has warned that disciplinary action will be taken against its employees if they take part in the strike. “Taking part in the strike will be considered as misbehaviour and disciplinary action should be initiated against such employees without any delay,” said an order issued by the general administration department. It added that the head of the departments or office in-charges should not grant any leave to any official and staff member. “If any leave is granted, it should be canceled till the strike ends,” it said, adding that the employees will be paid as per the government’s ‘no work no pay’ policy.

Mumbai Police spokesperson, DCP Pranay Ashok, said, “There is adequate police bandobast in place for tomorrow. We will keep an eye on the developments and accordingly depute policemen across the city.”