A joint protest by central trade unions here on Tuesday virtually held parts of the city to ransom, leaving commuters stuck in traffic jams for hours.
The members blocked the road at Bharat Nagar Chowk for three hours. Unaware of the protest, the city administration was left puzzled by the workers' action.
On a joint call given by trade unions - Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) and Hind Mazdoor Sangthan (HMS) - activists descended on Bharat Nagar Chowk around noon,
bringing traffic on Ferozepur Road to a halt for three hours.
Apart from Ferozepur Road, nearby areas, too, bore the brunt of the protest.
Workers and employees belonging to the brick kiln industry, municipal corporation, Punjab Agricultural University, health department and mid-day meal scheme, participated in the protest.
Addressing the protesters, CITU state president Vijay Mishra termed the 1991 reforms, which heralded privatisation and globalisation in the country, as "anti-poor".
He criticised the state government for what he described as its "anti-worker policies". "The state government has curbed our democratic right," he said.
Speakers from different organisations also criticised the Centre's for its decision to allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, saying that it would ruin small-time retailers.
A police officer said the administration had no information about the protest. "The protesters had gathered near the bus stand. The police and the administration were of the view that they would stage the protest at Chattar Singh Park only," assistant commissioner (traffic) J Elanchezhian said.