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Wednesday, Apr 17, 2002

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Strike brings cheque clearing to standstill

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A security personnel walking through a deserted corridor of the Bank Street branch of State Bank of India in Hyderabad on Tuesday. The bank employees participated in a day-long nation-wide strike to protest against Central Government policies.

MUMBAI, April 16

CHEQUE clearing operations came to a grinding halt today as the employees of public sector banks, financial institutions and the RBI joined the all-India strike called by various trade unions to protest against the "anti-labour" polices of the Government.

Money and forex markets reported thin trading with private and foreign banks operating as usual. Most public sector banks more or less stayed away from the market, said a dealer with a private bank.

In Mumbai, most branches of public sector banks wore a deserted look though they remained opened. There was hardly any transactions reported from branches in the city, said an official of a PSU bank.

Employees of RBI also participated in the strike. According to an RBI spokesperson, about 50 per cent of employees attended office.

"Clearing house operations were totally paralysed. Cheques worth crores were held up," said an official of one of the trade unions participating in the strike.

Several unions including the United Forum of Bank Employees, which consists of the All-India Bank Employees' Association, the All-India Bank Officers' Association and the National Confederation of Bank Employees, gave the strike call.

Besides banks, working of financial institution such as LIC, GIC and UTI was also affected.

Meanwhile, there was no deal done in the inter-bank call money market. Even in the G-sec market, the volume was very thin.

Volumes in the forex market also were around one-tenth of the usual trading volumes.

According to a press release issued by the AIBEA, over one million bank employees and officers observed the strike.

Meanwhile, loading and unloading operations at Mumbai and JN ports were partially affected. However, flights from Mumbai operated normally.

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