The nationwide general strike called by trade unions opposing “anti-labour” policies of the Centre evoked a mixed response in Andhra Pradesh even as banks remained closed across the state seeking action against “wilful defaulters”.
Over 100 agitators were taken into preventive custody in Visakhapatnam, where the strike evoked a good response in the industrial areas of Gajuwaka and Auto nagar. Work was affected in PSUs like Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, Bharat Heavy Plate and Vessels Ltd, Hindustan Shipyard, NTPC’s Simhadri Power Plant, Visakhapatnam Port Trust and private industrial units in Visakhapatnam as many of the workers joined in the strike.
All public sector banks, private banks and offices of insurance companies like LIC remained closed.
In Vijayawada and other major towns like Guntur, Eluru and Kakinada, commercial activity was paralysed as shops downed their shutters in solidarity with the striking workers.
In Eluru, the private jute mill was completely shut down as over 5,000 workers went on a mass leave.
In Guntur, All India Democratic Women’s Association and the Left-affiliated trade unions took out a rally protesting the “aggressive mechanisation” in the urban local body.
The state government offices and government schools remained open, but managements of some private schools and declared a holiday today in the port city.
The strike had little impact in Kadapa district where RTC services remained normal while other commercial activity was also not affected.
The state Road Transport Corporation bus services were also only partially affected as majority of workers affiliated to the mazdoor union attended duties sporting red badges.
Only the RTC Employees’ Union abstained from work. All RTC employees, however, staged protests in front of the bus depots.
Banks were closed across the state with employees demanding that the Centre immediately crackdown on the “wilful defaulters” and publicise the list of corporates that owed huge amounts to banks.
Municipal workers in the state also took part in the day-long strike. In Tirumala, sanitation workers of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams took part in the strike, affecting sanitation in the temple town.
The contract workers in TTD also joined the strike and staged a protest in front of the administrative building.
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions, which led the protest, demanded that the government immediately address the grievances of contract workers.