The suburban trains, autorickshaws, taxis and city buses continued to operate normally, without affecting the daily schedule of lakhs of commuters in Mumbai and suburbs.

A CPM state unit leader told PTI that there were instances of 'rasta roko' (block roads) at various places in rural Maharashtra.

"Our activists staged 'rasta roko' agitation in Thane and Nashik districts," CPM leader Ashok Dhawle said. He claimed that there was an 'overwhelming' response to the stir in the industrial belts of Maharashtra.

Several government employees also stayed away from work, he said.

All India Banks Employees Association general secretary Vishwas Utagi said entire financial sector will get paralysed today with all banks, except SBI, being on strike. The LIC, Nabard, GIC among others are also participating in the strike, he added.

Essential services such as banking, transport and telecom are likely to be hit today as 10 central trade unions began nationwide strike, protesting against "anti-worker" changes in labour laws and the Centre's "indifference" to their demands for better wages.

All major unions, excluding RSS-associated BMS (Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh), have joined the strike call, terming the government's assurances to look into their demands and the recent announcements for two-year bonus and hike in minimum wage as "completely inadequate".

On its part, the government has asked all ministries to ensure that public utilities and essential services are not affected. Secretaries of all departments have been asked to take effective measures for smooth running of various services coming under their respective ministries.

Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya had yesterday blamed the previous UPA government for the issues faced by the workers and said the present government "doesn't want a confrontation with labour unions" and rather needs their cooperation and support.

He had conceded banking and insurance sectors are likely to be impacted more due to the strike today, while adding that out of 12 demands of the trade unions, eight are related to the labour department and seven of them have been agreed to.

 

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