Trade unions call nationwide strike on 8 January against govt policies

Trade unions have given a nationwide strike call on 8 January to protest against the policies of the central government, including labour law changes and the proposed bank mergers. Unions claim about 250 million working people would participate in the nationwide strike.

The unions are also demanding a hike in the minimum wage to Rs21,000-24,000 per month, a halt to privatisation of public sector undertakings, and the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register for Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
The strike is likely to hit banking sectors, including ATM services, as bank unions have asked their employees to boycott their work. 
Meanwhile, Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) is reported to have said that union labour minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar had invited leaders of the central trade unions to inform them that the government has been taking all the steps for the welfare of workers.
However, the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal has directed that all the state government offices shall remain open on the day. "In view of call given by different trade unions and others for a 24 hours All India Industrial strike on January 8, it has been decided that all state government offices including those provided grants-in-aid by state government shall remain open and all the employees shall report for duty on that date," a memorandum issued by Finance (Audit) Department of West Bengal government said.
It said no casual leave for absence either in the first half of the day or in the second half or for the whole day nor any other leave shall be granted to any employee on the said date.
The government said that employees who are on leave 7 January, shall have to report for duty on the day. The government said that the absence of employees on those days will be treated as `dies-non` and no salary will be admissible unless such absence is covered by reasons such as hospitalisation and bereavement in the family.