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Government Workers in India Stage General Strike - 2003-05-21


Millions of government workers across India staged a general strike Wednesday to protest economic reforms.

All government offices and state-run companies, including banks were closed, but other businesses were functioning normally. Public transport was running in most states.

The eastern city of Calcutta (also known as Kolkata) was completely shut down because of the strike, but life was normal in other major cities, including New Delhi and the country's financial hub, Bombay (also known as Mumbai).

At least five major labor unions -- mostly associated with India's communist parties -- called the strike, demanding the government give up plans to privatize several state-run industries. They also strongly oppose an amendment to India's labor laws that would make it easier for employers to fire workers and close down businesses.

However, two of the country's largest unions affiliated with the ruling and the main opposition parties - the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the Indian National Trade Unions Congress - are not taking part in the strike.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.

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