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India's workers walk off jobs in two-day strike to protest 'anti-labour' policies

Published on Feb 20, 2013 4:18 PM
 
Commuters carry their luggage outside a railway station during a strike in New Delhi on Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013. Millions of India's workers walked off their jobs on Wednesday in a two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions to protest at the "anti-labour" policies of the embattled government. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Millions of India's workers walked off their jobs on Wednesday in a two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions to protest at the "anti-labour" policies of the embattled government.

Financial services and transport were hit by the strike called by 11 major workers' groups to protest at a series of pro-market economic reforms announced by the government last year, as well as high inflation and rising fuel prices.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had appealed to unions to abandon the strike, the latest in a string of protests against liberalisation, warning it would cause a "loss to our economy" already poised for its slowest annual growth in a decade.

But talks following Dr Singh's appeal this week collapsed after the government refused to bow to union demands to roll back the reforms, which are aimed at jumpstarting the economy and averting a downgrade in India's credit rating.

 
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