Kolkata:  Industry body Assocham on Tuesday urged central trade unions to call off the two-day strike starting from Wednesday saying that the economy would take a hit of Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore due to disruptions.
    
"The national economy, battling slowdown, can ill-afford this situation. In fact, the strike would aggravate the price situation because of disruption in the supply line of essential commodities," Assocham president Rajkumar Dhoot said in a statement.

Dhoot said the strike would cripple mostly service sector like banking, insurance and transport, besides industrial production. Even the agriculture sector would be affected as the movement of vegetables, a highly perishable item, would be disrupted. The chamber estimated the loss based on the daily erosion of about 30-40 percent of the gross domestic product for two days.

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As per the advanced estimates of the CSO, the national GDP for the current financial year is projected to be about Rs 95 lakh crore. In other words, it is Rs 26,000 crore per day and Rs 52,000 crore for two days. Of this, the strike would take its toll on at least 30 to 40 percent of the two days' GDP, equivalent to Rs 15,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore, Assocham said.

The chamber predicted that states like West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka and parts of Uttar Pradesh are likely to be affected significantly. Besides, banking operations including cheque clearance and some segments of the financial markets would take a hit. Moreover, disruption in railways and other public transport in major cities would hit the movement of the workforce and cargo operations at the ports.

GOVT, TRADE UNIONS AT LOGGERHEADS
  • Talks between trade unions and government fail
  • Trade unions stand firm on call for a two-day nation-wide strike from Wednesday
  • Strike against government’s inaction on violation of labour laws and price rise
  • Strike to cause whopping loss to economy

DEMANDS

The unions have demanded concrete measures for containing inflation, steps for employment generation, universal social security, and making the minimum wage to Rs.10,000 per month along with daily allowance.

"All these issues had been agreed upon by the labour parliament, which is a tripartite body, with government representation. But the issues have not been implemented," Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) secretary general Baijnath Rai said.

The strike has been called jointly by the BMS, Indian 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 central organisations.

The government reached out to the union leaders Monday with a committee comprising Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, but the talks failed.

RBI employees to participate in strike

Reserve Bank of India employees all over the country would participate in the two-day strike, the unions said. A statement issued by All India Reserve Bank Employees Association and All India Reserve Bank Workers Federation here said that its employees would support the strike and the Central Bank would remain closed.   

JPN/Agencies

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