Banking, transport and other services across the country are likely to be hit as trade unions have called a nationwide strike to protest against the government's "anti-people" policies on Wednesday.
Nearly 25 crore people are said to be taking part in the all-India strike.
Ten central trade unions like INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC along with various sectoral independent federations and associations had adopted a declaration in September last to go on a nationwide strike on January 8, 2020.
Several banks have already informed stock exchanges about the Wednesday strike and its impact on banking services.
Various bank employee associations, including AIBEA, All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA), BEFI, INBEF, INBOC and Bank Karmachari Sena Mahasangh (BKSM), have expressed their willingness to participate in the strike.
Banking services like deposit and withdrawal, cheque clearing and instrument issuance are expected to be impacted due to the strike.
However, services at private sector banks are unlikely to be impacted.
Other than banking, transport and other key services are also likely to be disrupted in many states due to this nationwide strike call.
In West Bengal, trade unions affiliated to Left and other parties called for a bandh against the economic policies of the BJP-led government at the Centre.
However, the state government said it will not support any bandh.
"The Ministry of Labour has failed to assure on any of the demands of workers which called a meeting on January 2, 2020. The attitude of the government is that of contempt towards labour as we construe from its policies and actions," the 10 CTUs said in a joint statement.
"We expect participation of not less than 25 crore of working people in the forthcoming National General Strike on January 8, 2020, to be followed by many more actions seeking reversal of the anti-worker, anti-people, anti-national policies of the Government," it said.
The strikers are protesting against privatisation of PSUs and railways, bank mergers, unemployment, price-rise, codification of labour laws, the Citizenship Amendment Act, among other things.
The central government, meanwhile, has asked public sector undertakings to dissuade their employees from participating in the 'Bharat Bandh' called on Wednesday and advised them to prepare a contingency plan to ensure smooth functioning of the enterprises.
"Any employee going on strike in any form, including protest, would face the consequences which, besides deduction of wages, may also include appropriate disciplinary action," said an office memorandum issued by the government. "Suitable contingency plan may also be worked out to carry out the various functions of the ministry/department," it added.
Meanwhile, in Kerala, the trade unions exempted the state's tourism sector from Wednesdays general strike.
Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) Society hailed as "exemplary" the decision by political parties and trade unions to exempt the state's tourism sector from the general strike.
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