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Millions of workers begin 2-day labor rights strike in India

Millions of workers began protesting in India on Monday in a two-day nationwide strike over the government's economic policies, The Associated Press reports. 

In a call for "improved rights for industrial workers, employees and farmers," the roughly dozen labor unions that planned the strike are demanding universal social security coverage for workers in the country's large informal sector, a minimum wage bump, and that the government halt the privatization of public-sector banks, per AP. 

Across India, the protesting workers blocked roads and railroad lines, even stopping trains. Since bank unions joined the strike, "the State Bank of India, a government institution, warned its customers that banking services were likely to be affected Monday and Tuesday," The New York Times writes.

"The present government is anti-workers and against poor people," Arthanari Soundararajan of the Communist Party Of India told the Times.

The Indian government, currently under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is interested in privatizing some state-owned banks to overhaul the banking industry and spark economic growth, writes AP. Those striking are demanding the termination of those plans.

The government's labor law alterations have come at the expense of workers, amid falling wages and increasing inflation, said Anurag Saxena, a Centre of Indian Trade Unions official.

"They are selling railways, airports, ports, oil industry and gas refineries and our power transmission sector, there is nothing left," Saxena told the Times. "Whatever our forefathers have built in this country is being now sold to big corporate and private entrepreneurs."