New Delhi: The country braced for a two-day nationwide strike called by 11 trade unions from Wednesday in support of their demands with banking, insurance and transport sector likely to be affected in some states. As fresh appeals were made on Tuesday to the trade unions to call of the strike, leading industry body Assocham warned that the economy would take a hit of between Rs 15,000 crore and Rs 20,000 crore due to disruption in economic activity.
The government renewed its appeal to the bank employees including from the RBI not to join the strike saying there is "really no reason" for them to go ahead with it.
Normal life is likely to be crippled in states like Kerala and Tripura where workers from various sectors including transport and banking are set to join the protest against the Centre's economic and labour policies.
States like West Bengal, Kerala, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka and parts of Uttar Pradesh are likely to be affected significantly, Assocham president Rajkumar Dhoot said in a statement in Kolkata.
Apart from unions owing allegiance to the Left, the pro-Congress INTUC and pro-BJP BMS are also participating in the strike. The unions have put forward a charter of 10 demands such as urgent steps to control price rise, strict enforcement of labour laws in all places of work, social security net for workers in the unorganised sector, end to disinvestment in PSUs and raising minimum wage to Rs 10,000 a month.
In Kerala, the Congress-led UDF government has declared 'dies non' (no work, no pay) as pro-Left service and teachers unions are also striking work. The Trinammool Congress government in West Bengal also issued a circular to all its employees asking them to be present in offices failing which they would be served showcause notices.
Terming Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's threats to foil the two-day strike call as "llegal", the labour arm of CPI(M)- CITU threatened to file a case against state chief secretary Sanjoy Mitra if the state government forcefully tries to stop government workers from participating in the strike.