Millions of workers went on strike to protest planned labour law reforms, saying the labour reforms planned by PM Modi’s government will put jobs at risk, and demanding it scrap changes that make it easier to lay off workers and shut down unproductive factories.
All India Trade Union Congress secretary Gurudas Dasgupta said the response consisted of over 150 million workers who took part in the strike that is the biggest in India for over 2 years – and 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. TV footage showed police baton-charging protesters in Kolkata and dragging away women strikers. Nearly 200 people were arrested across the state.
In Delhi passengers were stuck at airports as many taxis stayed off the streets.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry general secretary D S Rawat said the government should intervene to reach an agreeable solution in the interest of industry and the nation. Later the government stressed its commitment to the welfare of the working classes, saying it had taken positive steps on most of their demands.