Within hours of the dismal performance of the Congress in the assembly polls trickled in, the UPA government struck a reconciliatory tone with the opposition on Tuesday. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee informed opposition leaders that the Centre will hold a meeting with the 11 trade unions that went on a strike on February 28.
Mukherjee also said that the meeting-to discuss issues like the violation of labour law-will be held after the general budget is presented in Lok Sabha on March 16.
The meeting assumes significance as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had personally called up Congress-affiliated INTUC union chief G Sanjeeva Reddy before the industrial strike and asked to come for talks.
“I have asked the finance minister to see that Prime Minister is present in the meeting with the trade unions. Earlier we made repeated representations to him but the centre has not done anything,” AITUC Gurudas Dasgupta told HT on Tuesday.
The finance minister, as a part of his pre-budget consultations, had already met some trade unions. Despite that meeting held on last month, the Centre is now ready to talk again with the trade unions that showed an unprecedented unity on calling the industrial strike.
For the first time, the Congress' backed INTUC, RSS affiliated BMS, the Left unions and the Shiv Sena's trade union arm collectively called the strike against Centre’s policies.