All set for trade union strike on Friday

New Delhi: On Friday, employees and workers, both organized and un-organized, belonging to various sectors appear to be participating in a big way in nation-wide strike. They are demandingA� better pay and protesting against A�new labour and investment policies.

The overtures made by the government to persuade the trade unions to withdraw the strike did not yield any result.

Banks, government offices and factories to be closed. In some states, local unions have agree to join the strike which is likely to affect the public transport. The workers of state-run Coal India Ltd are among those joining the strike.

Trade unions including the All India Trade Unions Congress and Centre of Indian Trade Unions rejected a government appeal on Tuesday to call off the strike, saying it failed to address their demands.

They have objected to the government loosening the norms for foreign investment in areas like insurance and defense. They are also opposed toA� a plan to close loss-making state-run firms.

The government aims to raiseA�Rs.A�55,907 crore ($8.35 billion) through privatization this fiscal year, and shut down some companies. The trade unions are opposed to weakening the public sector in this way.

To persuade the unions,A�Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday that the government will release state employees’ bonuses for the last two years,A�and increase minimum wages for unskilled labour.

The unions also oppose a government directive to state-run pension funds to put more money into stock markets. The trade unions consider pension funds to be a life time savings and should not be subjected to the vagaries of stock markets.

The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, which is l affiliated with the Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the BJP, is not joining the strike. The BMS did not join the strike of 2nd September 2015 also but units affiliated to it at various centers joined the strike.

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