Trade unions enforce shut down in Udupi; Manipal unaffected
Udupi: Services in Udupi were shutdown as members of the local unit of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) enforced the nation-wide strike demanding a revision of minimum wage, here on Friday.
Bus operators in Udupi kept true to their promise of keeping off roads, as both city and service bus stands wore a deserted look throughout the day. Private transport services, overnight buses and auto-rickshaws, however, continued plying as per usual. Balakrishna Shetty, District Head of CITU, reinforced the Union’s demands on several issues. ‘’Our main demand is to reduce prices of several commodities. We also demand a minimum wage of 18,000 Rupees for workers,’’ said Shetty.
The other issues raised by the Union included farmers’ rights, petrol and diesel rates, and also laid special emphasis on the sand transporters’ issues and the State Government’s mishandling of it as well. However, there was no direct contact between CITU and the Central Government. Attempts made to resolve issues with the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) also failed. The BMS was notably absent from the list of ten trade unions that came together to demand for a revision of minimum wage.
Several activists of the union claimed that the strike was a success. However, opinions on the ground were largely divided. While many extended support for the strike, others were critical of it and only closed down businesses over fears of safety. “’We are in support of the Centre’s policies. Workers are never satisfied with salary hikes. If you give them more, they keep asking for more. It is an endless demand. We will shut down the shop if asked by them, but only for our safety and not for their cause. We do not want untoward incidents.’’ said Narendra Pai, owner of New Diana Stores in Udupi.
Businesses were also wary of the fact that the next full working day was only 3 days later, owing to Ganesh Chaturti on Monday. Manipal meanwhile remained unaffected by the strike.
Edited by Prajwal Bhat