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Banking and postal services worst affected on day I of trade union strike in Jharkhand

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Ranchi, Mar 28: Banking services at public sector banks and postal services at over 3090 post offices were affected in Jharkhand on Monday as a major section of employees did not report for duty on the first day of the nation-wide strike called by a joint forum of central trade unions to protest against various “wrong” policies of the government.

The two-day strike was also supported by the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). However, there was hardly any impact on the services of private sectors banks in the state.

Jharkhand chapter of the Bank of India Employees Union (BoIEU) claimed that more than 2,000 branches of various public sector banks remained shut across the state.

Bank employees were seen on dharna outside the gates of their bank branches. Trade union workers also took out protest marches in various parts of the state.

Saket Kumar Sharma, assistant general secretary of BoIEU, Ranchi zone, said  that they were protesting against various issues including privatisation of banks, sale of public sector units and outsourcing in the banking system.

“We are also demanding re-constitution of the old pension scheme,” he said.

Meanwhile, five workers of Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) Limited claimed they suffered injuries in a scuffle with bandh supporters here, who wanted to stop them from entering the plant.

The workers were on their way to the HEC plant for the morning shift when the incident took place. The workers alleged that they were beaten up by the trade union members. The workers are undergoing treatment at a facility of the company.

HEC officials, however, claimed that production remained unaffected, as there was about 90 per cent attendance on Monday.

INTUC central secretary and vice president of Indian National Mines Workers Federation (INMWF) AK Jha claimed that coal dispatch and road transportation remained affected in Jharkhand.

“Coal production was affected by more than 70 per cent. Dispatch and transportation have totally been affected,” he said.

However, coal companies including Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) and Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) claimed that there was no impact of the strike on coal production.

A CCL official said that only transportation was slightly affected at Charhi, Barka Sayal and Kathara-Bokaro projects while production was almost normal.

The joint forum of central trade unions opposing privatisation in any form is on a two-day nationwide strike and their demands include the scrapping of the proposed changes in labour laws and the national monetisation pipeline. Increased allocation of wages under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and regularisation of contract workers are also part of their demands.

Apart from the ten central trade unions — INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC — the joint forum also includes independent sectoral federations and workers’ associations. 

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