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Media watchdog criticizes American media for not covering strike by Indian trade unions

08-September-2016
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Media watchdog criticizes American media for not covering strike by Indian trade unions

The Intercept, an alternate media website founded by Gleen Greenwald, has criticized the American media for not covering the strike observed by trade unions across India last Friday.

“The Indian trade unions staged one of the largest strikes in human history on Friday with tens of millions of public sector workers participating in a shutdown of parts of the Indian economy to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic plans. But if you’re an American relying on cable news, it would be hard to know it ever happened,” The Intercept said.

Having a reputation of being a watchdog of the government and media, The Intercept mentioned that the strike went unreported though it coincided with Labour Day, an annual holiday in the US.

“Not a single American cable news network ran a segment focused on India’s massive strike, even on Labour Day, the US’s annual holiday dedicated to workers,” it said. The website pointed out that CNN International was the sole exception.

“The only mention of the strike on US-based cable news was during a segment on CNN International where the CEO of the human resources consulting firm ManPower Group cited the Indian strike as part of global concerns about technology suppressing wages,” it added.

Ten central trade unions came together to give the call for nationwide strike on September 2 against the labour policy being pursued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. While trade unions asserted the success of the strike by claiming the participation of 18 crore workers, the central government dismissed its impact as minimal. 

“Overall life and business remained normal in most parts of the country in the wake of one day countrywide strike called by Central Trade Unions. Important sectors like railways, civil aviation and major ports remained unaffected. Banking and insurance, coal, telecom and defence production were partially affected while transport and steel were marginally affected,” the Labour Minister said in a statement.

However, the government admitted the effect of the strike in Kerala and Tripura. But it maintained that the strike had negligible impact in several states. The government had earlier appealed to all the unions to call off the strike after promising to release two years’ bonuses of central government employees and raising the minimum wage for semi-skilled non-agricultural workers to Rs 350. 

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