On January 8, 10 central trade unions in the country have called for a 'Bharat Bandh', i.e a nationwide strike. It is expected to involve more than 20 crore people including government employees, teachers, workers and so forth. Multiple other unions and political parties such as Shiv Sena, DMK, MDMK have extended their support to the strike.
The principal participants in the strike are the All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC).
Meanwhile, 6 banking sector unions- All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC) and Bank Karmachari Sena Mahasangh (BKSM) have also decided to join the 'Bharat Bandh' which can disrupt several customer services. Talks with the Union Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar on January 2 also failed to assuage the unions and they have decided to go ahead with the strike.
The unions have a total of 14 demands. One of the main demands of the protestors is that the government should scrap the proposed labour reforms. The other key demands include a raise in the minimum wage to Rs.21,000-Rs. 24,000 per month, stopping the privatisation of public sector undertakings, halting the forced merger of banks and scrapping the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR).
On January 3, Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Raut revealed that his party would wholeheartedly participate in the ‘Bharat Bandh’. He noted that the countrywide shutdown call had been given by most of the labour organizations of India. Raut maintained that there was no conflict in his party supporting a bandh at a juncture when his party chief Uddhav Thackeray is the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.