Banking disrupted as employees go on strike over proposed consolidation

Employees’ and officers’ bank unions went on a day’s strike on Wednesday, hampering cheque clearing processes and other operations

Bank branches across the country wore a deserted look on Wednesday as the strike call by the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) was successfully carried out by a mix of public sector, private and foreign banks. The unions were protesting against a host of issues, foremost among them being the consolidation of the Indian banking sector and privatisation of public sector banks. Normal banking operations across the country were disrupted as a result.

“It was a tremendous response. The industry was at a virtual standstill,” said Vishwas Utagi, secretary, AIBEA, adding that cheque clearing processes were paralysed across the country.
It was a total bandh-like situation in West Bengal and Kerala. The response from north India and western regions was also “encouraging”, said Mr Utagi.

Operations of banks which weren’t part of the strike call were also affected as a result. The coordination committee of nine central unions also held a protest dharna in front of the Lok Sabha.

Gurudas Dasgupta, CPI MP, Vasudev Acharya, CPM MP, Dr Sanjeeva Reddy, Congress MP and Sushma Swaraj, BJP MP also lent support to the dharna programme, said Mr Utagi.

CH Venkatachalam, general secretary, AIBEA, said that there should be no consolidation in the public sector banks in the name of creating global-sized banks.
 

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