The strike is part of the all-India call for bandh. Apart from transport services which have resumed, other services will continue to be disrupted on Thursday. The unions are protesting against the policies of the UPA government, as well as the non-fulfillment of their long pending demands. Among the protesting departments were insurance, banks, BSNL, postal department, electricity, medical representatives and central government employees.
With the public sector banks closed, no transaction could take place leading to loss of business. While for the residents who wanted to withdraw money, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were operational, but cheques could not be deposited or encashed.
Commuters faced a hard time with buses not plying between 9 am and 5 pm. People had to use alternate means of transport, including auto rickshaws, for which they had to shell a huge amount.
Around 1,700 contractual employees at Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research also went on strike affecting registration of patients at the OPD. Patients suffered for hours as the employees did no t return to work.
Chandigarh Transport Undertaking union president Bhupinder Singh said, “Keeping in mind public convenience, buses began to ply after 5 pm. We won’t observe a strike on Thursday”.
In some sectors, electricity supply that was disrupted due to some faults could not be rectified due to employees being on strike. An official of the department said, “Workers had been deployed at the sub-divisions. The grid was protected. However, the faults can be repaired only by the worker who went on strike”. This caused inconvenience to the residents who had to go without electricity for several hours.
Government college teachers also participated in the strike and stayed away from classes for around two hours.
The unions held protests at different places. After holding gate meetings at their offices, the employees gathered at the Sector-17 plaza, under the aegis of Employees’ Forum Chandigarh, where a rally was held. The protestors demanded a break on inflation, concrete measures for employment generation, strict enforcement of labour laws, universal social security cover, no contract labour for work of regular nature, assured pension for all and removal of payment and eligibility of bonus.
Kuldip Singh, co-ordinator of the Employees’ Forum, stated that the unions would continue with their strike on Thursday as well.