PM appeals to Trade Unions to call off strike, offers talks

Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today appealed to protesting central Trade Unions to withdraw their proposed two-day strike from February 20 saying it would cause loss to economy besides inconvenience to people and offered talks.

Protesting against government's "inaction" on price rise and alleged violation of labour laws, 11 central trade unions and workers' federation have called for a two-day nationwide strike starting from February 20.

"I appeal to the Central Trade Unions to withdraw their call for countrywide general strike on February 20 and 21. Such a strike would lead to avoidable loss to our economy and inconvenience to the public through disruption of services," the Prime Minster said in his message.

Singh also pointed out that some of the issues raised by the Trade Unions are "already being acted upon" and others are at "various stages of consideration".

While issuing the appeal to the Unions to withdraw their strike call, the Prime Minister said he has requested his senior Cabinet colleagues A K Antony, Sharad Pawar, P Chidambaram and Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge to hold discussions with them.

"I am confident that these discussions would result in a course of action that is acceptable both to the Trade Unions and the government," he said.

AITUC general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta had yesterday said it was for the first time all trade unions have come together for the two-day strike as "government has not taken any action to look into the problems of sky rise inflation, disinvestment in public sector units and non-implementation of labour laws".

The strike has been called jointly by the Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), All India Trade union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and other such organisations.

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