Images of India : Millions strike over ‘anti-labour’ reforms…

StrikeMillions of workers across India went on strike (Sept 2) in protest at planned labour law reforms, the biggest show of strength by trade unions since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office. They say labour reforms planned by the government will put jobs at risk, and are demanding it scrap changes that would make it easier to lay off workers and shut down unproductive factories. The strike – the biggest in India for more than two years – included staff at state-run banks and mines as well as some factory, construction and transport workers. Most cities remained peaceful, but clashes between police and activists broke out in West Bengal, which has a long history of left-wing union activism. Businesses argue that conforming to India’s 44 national and more than 150 state labour laws is not only costly and time-consuming, but has also deterred foreign investors. Modi has promised a string of business-friendly reforms to attract foreign investment and revive Asia’s third-largest economy. Industry body ASSOCHAM estimated $3.7 billion in economic losses from the strike, singling out the country’s ports where exports were left lying on the docks.