How is the country’s financial services industry standing up to the unprecedented two-day shutdown call by unions?

Has it really benefited from its ‘increasingly mature’ virtual presence or seemingly entrenched networking operations?

Likely watershed

One would need to wait until tomorrow to get the exact picture. And this indicates its vulnerability despite all what technology may have had to offer, says P.G. Dileep, General Secretary, LIC Agents’ Association of India.

He is certain that the two-day strike would be a watershed in the annals of trade union movement in the country. “I can assure you that not a single transaction would take place in the insurance industry,” he told Business Line.

All 2,048 branches, 113 divisions offices and eight zonal offices of Life Insurance Corporation would stay closed on both days of strike.

Presence of online marketing, premium points, satellite branches, and banks and brokers may not be of much help. And he has ample evidence to support his viewpoint.

Kerala precedent

The agents’ association had called for State-wide ‘business bandh’ in Kerala on February 8 to declare its solidarity with the two-day strike. “This turned out to be a blinder,” Dileep said.

As against 3,460 policies sold on this day last year, only six were sold despite the heavily advertised online and virtual presence of LIC.

“The big difference is that unlike February 8 when we decided to go it alone, whole LIC staff has joined us this time, and across the country.”

The LIC Agents’ Organisation of India has expressed solidarity with the cause of the two-day national strike, he said.

The strike is to protect the interests of Life Insurance Corporation of India, agents and policy holders, said Basudeb Acharya, President of the organisation.

Solidarity with cause

Among the 10 demands raised by the trade unions, seven have a direct bearing on LIC agents, he said.

“It is therefore, of utmost importance to LIC agents to see that the two-day strike meets with a total success.”

Dileep appealed to all LIC agents to participate in the strike since “this was a question of survival as far as they are concerned’’.

vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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