Here are five reasons behind the strike:
10 trade unions are demanding that the government dump plans to sell off stakes in state-run companies and shut down unproductive factories. Instead, the sick units should be revived, say unions.
Trade unions claim that if the government amends key laws - Factory Establishment Act, Bonus Act and Industrial relations - 75 per cent of the workforce will be out of the purview of labour laws.
The government plans to take small factories, which have up to 40 workers, out of the labour laws. Unions say this would take away the job security of most of the workforce.
The workers on strike are from the banking, manufacturing, construction and coal mining sectors. The new labour laws are expected to diminish the influence of trade unions and make the labour market more flexible.
Hawkers, domestic workers and daily wage labourers have also joined the strike to demand an increase in the minimum wage.
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