Naveen backs Feb general strike by TUs: Gurudas

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has extended support to the two-day general strike called by 11 central trade unions demanding increase in minimum wages on February 20 and 21, the AITUC on Saturday said.

"The Chief Minister has told us that his support is with us. It will certainly give a moral boost to the stir by trade unions," said AITUC General Secretary and CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta told reporters here.

Stating that the support was conveyed when he met the BJD supremo to seek his moral support here last evening, Dasgupta said it was perhaps for the first time in the history of the country that a general strike by trade unions is being backed by a Chief Minister.

"We thank him (Patnaik) for his gracious support and the concern showed for the common people and the plight of the poor," he said.

The CPI leader said the strike was in support of the ten-point demand charter including minimum wage of Rs 10,000, jobs for unemployed, halt to disinvestment of profit-making public sector undertakings, proper enforcement of labour laws and maternity benefits to all working women.

Accusing the UPA government of not responding to the demands by trade unions for the last three years, he said the working class was forced to resort to a general strike for two days as their demands were not heeded.