23:46 GMT24 October 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Dozens of national trade unions in India have called for a shutdown on Wednesday against what they call the “anti-people” policies of the federal government. The unions have demanded a hike in the minimum monthly wage for workers from INR 21,000 ($290) to INR 24,000 ($330).

    The northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which faced violence in December over a controversial citizenship law, has been put on high alert and asked the police to remain vigilant over trade unions calls for a shutdown.

    Senior police officials told news agency IANS, that all top district functionaries of the force have been asked to remain on high alert, as some 1.65 million candidates will be taking an entrance examination for appointment as teachers.

    Besides workers, employee organisations representing state-run banks, postal departments, and telephone providers have also announced they will join the shutdown. Farmers have also stated they will stall the transportation of vegetables on Wednesday. Additionally, several student unions have joined in the movement.

    According to reports, an estimated 250 million workers in the country are likely to participate in a 24-hour nationwide strike against the privatisation of state-funded enterprises and what they call the "anti-people" policies of the federal government.

    The leader of India’s main opposition party the Indian National Congress, Rahul Gandhi, also lent support to the strike and said, he “salutes” the ones who are joining the strike.  

    The workers’ unions were also agitated over a new Industrial Relations Code proposed to be enforced by the federal government. While the federal government has clarified that the code would simplify old and complex labour norms, improve the business environment and spur jobs, unions have called it “anti-worker” for allowing employers to hire and fire workers, taking away job security.

    A legislative proposal to amend the Labour Code on Industrial Relations was introduced in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament in November 2019. The draft legislation was later referred to a parliamentary panel for detailed examination and seeking public comments.

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