Around 10 lakh bank employees and officers across the country struck work today to mark their protest against banking sector reforms as also to impress upon the Government the need for immediate settlement of their wage accord.
Today is the first day of the two-day strike called by the United Forum of Bank Unions comprising nine trade unions such as the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers' Confederation, AIBOA, BEFI, NCBE, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW and NOBO.
Terming the strike a 'total success', General Secretary of AIBEA CH Venkatachalam said that banking transactions, including clearing operations, were paralysed. About 10 crore cheques worth over ₹7.40 lakh crore could not be cleared.
In Chennai clearing house, 90 lakh cheques worth about ₹64,000 crore could not be processed in clearing. Government and foreign exchange transactions and money market operations were affected, and ATMs too went dry in a number of places, he said.
"The strike has been forced on us with IBA and the Government not heeding to our demand and delaying the settlement, which is already overdue,'' he said in reply to a question, adding ít is not our intention to inconvenience the public, but it has been forced on us.