Money & Banking

Nationwide strike affects clearing business at banks

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 22, 2018
Employees of Banks and Insurance company shout slogans during Nation wide strike in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma

Employees of Banks and Insurance company shout slogans during Nation wide strike in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: Ramesh Sharma   -  Business Line

Indian Bank in Vellore wears a deserted look on account of the strike by its employees as part of the all-India strike on Wednesday. Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

Indian Bank in Vellore wears a deserted look on account of the strike by its employees as part of the all-India strike on Wednesday. Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy   -  The Hindu

23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and over 13,000 cooperative banks have gone on strike

Normal working at banks was affected today due to a nationwide strike called by 10 central trade unions, although the staff of SBI, IOB, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank stayed away from the agitation.

“23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and over 13,000 cooperative banks have gone on strike today to protest against government’s pro-corporate policies,” All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary C H Venkatachalam told PTI.

He said that over half of the 10 lakh banking sector workers are supporting the strike call given by 10 central trade unions as their talks with the government on 12-points charter of demand failed last month.

Venkatachalam further said that among public sector banks State Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank have not joined the strike whereas in private sector ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Yes Bank did not join the day-long strike. He said that Yes Bank did not join the strike because there is no trade union there.

While clearing business was affected across the country, banks have fully stocked the ATM machines.

Among the private sector banks which joined the stir include Federal Bank, Karnataka Bank, Karur Vysya Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Catholic Syrian Bank, Dhanlaxmi Bank and Ratnakar Bank.

Venkatachalam said that banking sector has joined the stir to protest against central government’s anti-labour and pro-corporate policies.

The government had yesterday appealed to the trade unions to call off the agitation in the interest of workers and the nation.

The unions however decided to go ahead with the strike as their talks with a ministerial panel headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last month did not make any headway on their 12-point charter of demands.

Trade unions’ 12-point charter of demands includes urgent measures to rein in price rise, contain unemployment, strictly enforce basic labour laws, provide universal social security cover for all workers and minimum wage of Rs 15,000 per month.

They are also demanding higher pensions, stoppage of disinvestment in PSUs, ending contractorisation, removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund, compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days, no amendment to labour laws unilaterally, stopping of FDI in Railways and Defence.

Even as trade unions claimed partial success of their strike, country’s largest lender State Bank did not participate in the stir.

“We are not on strike. All our employees are working today,” SBI deputy managing director and CDO Ashwini Mehra said.

The Bank of Maharashtra said its services were partially hit, particularly the clearing house.

“All transactions happening through alternate channels like mobile banking, Internet banking and ATM withdrawls are not affected. There will be some impact on treasury operations as the staff is less,” Bank of Maharashtra executive director RK Gupta told PTI.

However, bank union leaders claimed success of their strike. “We are opposing the government plan to privatise and consolidate public sector banks. We are also against the labour laws of this government which are against trade unions and deny them their rights,” an office-bearer of the All-India Bank Employees Association said.

As many 14 major bank unions are on strike extending support to the 10 central trade unions’ call for the one-day nationwide protest against government’s anti-labour policies.

A large section of the nearly 10 lakh employees (as SBI is keeping away) and officers from 24 public sector banks, 11 private sector banks, nine foreign banks, 56 regional rural banks, 650 co-operative banks, the employees of Reserve Bank, Nabard and Sidbi are skipping offices today, partially impacting normal operations.

Bank unions are protesting against government’s ping in private sector players into the banking sector and also its plan to revamp public sector banks which are against the interest of state-run banks and their employees.

Published on September 02, 2015

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