Unions refuse to relent on strike call, talks with ministers collapse

New Delhi Eleven Central trade unions stuck to their call for a two-day nation-wide strike from Wednesday after talks with senior ministers convened at the instance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed last night.

Rejecting the prime minister's appeal on Sunday to the unions to call off the stir, the trade unions said the panel of ministers failed to give them any concrete proposal and that not even one of their demand was accepted.

"The strike is on.  They are only asking for time. They say they will study the demand and will give proper reply or take necessary action later on... We said it is not possible, there should be some concrete decision over demands of the workers," (Indian National Trade Union Congress) INTUC President G Sanjeeva Reddy told reporters.

INTUC is affiliated to the Congress.

AITUC General Secretary Gurudas Dasgupta also endorsed Mr Reddy's views.

The two-hour long meeting was attended by representatives of all the 11 trade unions.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Sunday appealed to the unions to call off their strike as it would cause loss to economy besides inconvenience to people and offered talks.

The Prime Minister had requested his senior Cabinet colleagues A K Antony, Sharad Pawar and P Chidambaram besides Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge to hold discussions with the union leaders.

Finance Minister P Chidambaram could not attend the meeting because of ongoing budget meetings. The meeting took place in Antony's office at the Defence Ministry.

Mr Reddy also said that government failed to offer any alternative to their call for strike.

"If no demand is settled and no concrete assurance is given, it is very difficult for the trade unions to withdraw or postpone the strike," he said.

Asked what were the offers given to unions from the government, he said, "No offer, they wanted more time. We said we have already given two years' time. We placed the demands three years before, so three years' time we already gave, so there is no question of giving more time."

The government could not give any concrete assurance on any one single demand, he said, adding therefore we are sticking to our strike plan.

The 10 demands mainly related to checking of price rise, generation of employment, halting of disinvestment in public sector enterprises and implementation of labour laws.
 
 
Story First Published: February 19, 2013 09:30 IST

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