NEW DELHI, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A one-day general strike, called by India's major trade unions, struck the country Tuesday to protest high inflation and other issues.
The strike had a mixed response as it began across the country, affecting normal life including banking, transport in some cities. The trade unions warned of a nationwide shutdown to protest what it called the government's anti-labor policies, NDTV television reported.
The strikers are also demanding better working conditions, that the government stop selling public sector enterprises to close budget deficits, and for a universal social security net for all workers including non-organized sectors.
In the southern state of Kerala, where leftists are strong, road transport, banking and other day-to-day services were hit, NDTV said. Shops across the state remained closed.
In West Bengal state, which until recently was ruled by left parties, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said there had been no disruption of public transport. She warned state workers against going on strike.
The Press Trust of News agency reported employees of banks, insurance companies and federal government in Mumbai, the country's financial capital, joined the strike but state government, railways and local transit workers did not.
The strike was called after the 11 major unions rejected the government's appeals.
"This a historic occasion as for the first time all the major trade unions irrespective of political affiliations are coming together to protest anti-labor polices of the government," All India Trade Union Congress general secretary Gurudas Dasgupta was quoted as saying.
India's inflation has remained high at about 7 percent, although down from over 9 percent late last year.
Economic growth in the fiscal year ending in March is expected to be around 7 percent, revised downward from earlier forecast of about 9 percent.