Services including banking and public transport were hit in Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh with employees of various government departments joining one-day nationwide strike to protest against ‘anti-labour’ policies of the government.
Employees of departments like roadways, electricity, health, corporations held demonstrations at various places in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. At some places, employees claimed the district administration “forcefully” asked roadways employees to ply buses.
The government departments had already warned protesting employees to enforce ‘no work no pay’ policy and had set up control rooms to lodge complaint.
At Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), various planned surgeries were postponed on Friday in the wake of around 2,000 nurses joining the nationwide strike call given by All India Government Nurses Federation.
Public transport services hit
A report from Phagwara in Punjab said while Punjab roadways buses were also off the road, PRTC buses were seen plying.
A staff member of Punjab Roadways said they will remain on strike from 10 am to 2 pm. Roadways buses were seen parked inside the main bus stand opposite National highway-I.
Manwhile, general secretary of Haryana Roadways Workers Union Dharamveer Hooda said, “There is a complete strike in Haryana as roadways buses are not plying, barring few ones at some places,”
“Employees are protesting at all the 24 depots in the state,” he said adding that the state roadways had fleet of 4,200 buses. However, he accused Jind district administration of resorting to lathicharge at protesting roadways employees to resume bus services. “But we have not allowed to run the buses,” he said. Hooda also claimed the state police have taken 21 leaders including Union’s president Sarbat Singh Punia into the custody at odd hours in Fatehabad.
Haryana’s Sarv Karamchari Sangh president Dharambir Phogat claimed government employees of almost all the departments including power, health, roadways, and corporations, boards, universities are participating in the strike.
“We have been demanding new appointments at regular basis, regularization of contractual employees, minimum wages of Rs 24,000 per month, implementation of labour laws etc,” said Phogat.
A report from Hisar and Kaithal in Haryana said public transport remained paralysed, forcing passengers to use private vehicles to reach their destinations. A large number of passengers could be seen stranded at Hisar, Hansi, Uklana , Barwala, Adampur and other bus stands. Almost all offices at mini secretariat here looked deserted as government employees did not join their duties.
Banking operations hit
Banking operations were also hit as public sector bank employees of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh participated in the nationwide strike.
Operations came to a halt in PSU banks even as employees held demonstrations at various places in both states.
“We are protesting against anti-labour and anti-banking reforms being brought by the government,” said Punjab Bank Employees Federation secretary Naresh Gaur.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson of PGIMER said planned surgeries at the health institute were postponed in view of strike by nurses. “But OPD and emergency services are normal at PGIMER,” she said.
Around 2,000 nurses stayed away from their work following a strike call given by All India Government Nurses Federation.