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TUs threaten strike to snatch strike right

New Delhi, Aug. 22: All central trade unions in the country cutting across party lines today condemned the Supreme Court’s recent judgment banning strikes by government employees and threatened to do just that if the Centre did not step in and ensure that workers are not denied their fundamental rights.

“We express deep shock and concern over the recent judgment of the Supreme Court and declare that the verdict is completely unacceptable. The central trade unions reiterate the right to strike as sacrosanct and believe it is not subject to any judicial interpretation. Workers can exercise this right as and when necessary,” the unions said in a statement after a meeting attended by the Intuc, the Aituc, the HMS, the AICCU and other smaller all-India unions, as well as the BJP-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS).

The union leaders decided to hold a national convention of all central trade unions on September 26 to chalk out “the future course of action”. The convention will discuss how best to oppose the court’s opinion.

Trade unions all over the country have been asked to take appropriate steps to negate the “pernicious impact of the Supreme Court judgment and protect the workers’ right to collective bargaining”.

The NDA government has been warned that if it persists in being “insensitive and anti-working class”, nationwide strikes would paralyse the country. “We want the Union government to do its bit to ensure that the court judgment is not honoured as it goes against the fundamental rights of citizens,” said M.K. Pandhe of the Citu.

“The apex court judgment is completely misleading and confusing and we will not accept it under any circumstances. We will try our best to reverse the judgment and, as a first step, we will go on a countrywide strike in December with active participation of all state and central government employees,” said All-India State Government Employees’ Federation general secretary Sukomal Sen.

The BMS nominee did not sit through the entire proceedings. The organisation condemned the court’s thinking but stopped at that. The BMS representative said he would have to place the detailed action plan to his colleagues before agreeing to it.

The meeting of union leaders felt the Tamil Nadu government’s harsh measurers against its employees had set a dangerous precedent. The apex court’s ruling and the comments made while delivering the verdict could trigger a series of repressive measurers by other state governments and corporations, the union leaders said.

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