PM appeals to trade unions to call off strike

New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sunday appealed to central trade unions to withdraw their call for a countrywide strike Feb 20-21, saying he had deputed four senior ministers to hold talks with them and the proposed shutdown will inconvenience the people.

"I appeal to the Central Trade Unions to withdraw their call for a country wide General Strike on Feb 20 and 21, 2013. Such a strike would lead to avoidable loss to our economy and inconvenience to the public through disruption of services," the prime minister said on the official twitter account of his office.

The prime minister said he has requested "senior colleagues" in his cabinet, including Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Labour Minister M. Kharge, to hold talks with trade unions.

"While some of the issues raised by the Trade Unions are already being acted upon and others are at various stages of consideration, I am confident that these discussions would result in a course of action that is acceptable both to the Trade Unions and the Government," the prime minister said.

Central trade unions and federations of workers have called for a two-day nationwide strike starting from Feb 20 against price-rise and "violation of labour laws".

Communist Party of India leader Gurudas Dasgupta Saturday said that all trade unions had come together for a two-day strike on issues such as "non-implementation" of labour laws, disinvestment in public sector units, and rising inflation.

The strike coincides with the start of parliament's budget session Feb 21.

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