Farmers and students are also supporting the strike, meaning it is likely to be the biggest shutdown, in terms of number of people, in human history.
Port and dock workers held demonstrations at most major ports while Railway workers are holding gate meetings and wearing black badges in solidarity.
Normal life in Mumbai was paralysed with the city municipal BEST bus service off the roads. Transport was also affected in Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata. Some states' transport departments, taxi drivers and auto-rickshaw drivers have also gone on strike for two days.
The strike is intended to send a strong message to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, in the run up to the May 2019 general election, that further attacks on workers’ rights will not be tolerated.
Unions calling for the strike have published a 12-point charter of demands, which includes demands for:
- A minimum wage of INR18,000 (USD257) per month for all workers
- The ratification of ILO conventions C87 and C98 on the rights to organise and collective bargaining
- An end to anti-worker labour law amendments
- The strict implementation of all labour laws
The government is attempting to amend the Trade Unions Act (1956) giving it the power alone to recognise trade unions, ending the current system of employer-employee-government consensus.