Trade unions on strike: economy may lose Rs 20,000 cr
Strike comes a day before the Budget session
Major trade unions on Wednesday began a two-day strike, as the beleaguered government prepares to present an austerity budget to parliament and weather a corruption scandal in a big arms deal.
Financial services, mining and transport are likely to be affected by the strike, called by all major trade unions to protest high inflation, a fuel price increase and what they say are violations of labour laws.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, grappling with the country’s worst economic slowdown in a decade, asked the unions to call off the strike, but talks between a ministerial panel and union leaders broke down on Monday.
“As far as we have seen, the government has nothing to offer to labourers,” said Atridev Tiwari, general secretary of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (Indian Workers Union), one of the main unions leading the strike.
“It doesn’t matter what the Prime Minister says now because we cannot rely on his word. He says something and does something else.”
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