A nationwide strike by employees of at least 10 trade unions and members of various public organisations against “anti-people” policies of the central and state governments on Wednesday brought life to a halt in Gurdaspur.
Punjab Roadways buses remained off roads from 10am to 2pm in Gurdaspur district, while banks and LIC offices were closed for the day.
Members of various organisations and unions assembled at Guru Nanak Park here and took out a protest march that passed through main markets. They also blocked traffic for about two hours on the GT Road at old bus stand.
While addressing the protesters at the park, speakers — Fateh Chand of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Jaswant Singh of the Chandigarh Transport Undertaking (CTU), Kuldip Singh of the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) among others — alleged that the gap between the haves and the have-nots was widening day by day due to wrong economic policies of the central and state governments.
They accused the government of making rules favouring the multinational companies and big industrial houses of the country at the cost of the interests of the common man.
They alleged, “Vastly prevalent unemployment and poverty are the result of the wrong policies of the government, which are being implemented to please the big companies.”
They demanded that each of the workers should be paid at least Rs 500 as per day wages and their monthly salary should not be less than Rs 15,000.
They said mushrooming malls were ruining lakhs of retail dealers and sought amendment in the labour laws so that the “exploitation” of the labour class by big companies and landlords could be controlled effectively.
They sought withdrawal of the privatisation of public sector organisations such as banks, insurance, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), schools, hospitals etc.