For the first time in the history of the country's trade union movement, all the Central Trade Unions (CTUs) are slated to hold a joint strike countrywide - next year. The demands behind the proposed agitation, on February 28, are better labour laws and their more effective implementation.
The decision comes on the heels of a united show by CTUs on November 8. That time, though, it was only a protest - against rising food prices.
The proposed strike is, thus, expected to affect the normal functioning of major public sector banks and insurance companies besides both central and state government offices.
Trade union leaders of public sector banks confirmed the move, but refused to make a statement before the CTUs make a formal announcement.
The February 28 stir is also likely to have an affect on the port traffic, as senior trade union leaders confirmed that talks were on to bring on board port and dock leaders across all major ports of the country.
The CTUs are expected to announce the date in a joint statement tomorrow, as they are awaiting a final nod from Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) President G Sanjeeva Reddy, who returns to the capital early that day.
Trade union leaders said the demands of the strike include affective implementation of labour laws, bringing contract and permanent workers at same level, amending the minimum wages act for a minimum wage for all workers and amending the Trade Union Act to ensure a time-bound decision on registration of trade unions.
The leaders said the coming together of the unions was part of a joint strategy to put pressure on the government. It's another matter that differences exist within the trade unions on various issues.
This includes the recent Cabinet decision to permit foreign direct investment in retail, which all left-backed trade unions have opposed even as the ruling Congress-backed INTUC has put its weight behind the government.