Stir against Centre's labour policy: Shutdown hits life in Kerala

Stir against Centre's labour policy: 24-hour shutdown hits life in Kerala

A general strike called by 16 trade unions in Kerala against a Union Government order which permits fixed-term employment across sectors hit life in Kerala on Monday, with public transport being the most affected in the 24-hour shutdown.

Workers in the transport, insurance and banking sectors participated in the strike. Low attendance was reported in State and Central government offices. In what has become a familiar sight on  hartal  days in Thiruvananthapuram, police made transport arrangements  for passengers who arrived at the central railway station and bus terminal and patients heading to hospitals.  

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC), private bus and taxi services were severely hit across the state while there was minimal movement of auto-rickshaws. In Thiruvananthapuram, supporters of the strike reportedly damaged an auto-rickshaw hired by passengers. Some of the late night KSRTC long-distance services from Kerala were also reportedly cancelled on Sunday, before the shutdown commenced at midnight. The Kochi Metro operated services on Monday.

Most of the shops, restaurants and other business establishments were closed. The striking unions also took out a protest march to the Raj Bhavan in Thiruvananthapuram. Members of the BJP-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh did not participate in the strike.

The unions contend that the Centre's move to extend fixed-term employment across sectors would encourage employers to adopt a hire-and-fire recruitment model, creating uncertainty for the employees and denying them rights and benefits.

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