Money & Banking

Strike hits banking operations; ATMs run dry

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on February 28, 2017

ATMs in Kolkata remained shut on Tuesday on account of the nationwide bank strike called by the unions. -- Ashoke Chakrabarty

ATMs in Kolkata remained shut on Tuesday on account of the nationwide bank strike called by the unions. -- Ashoke Chakrabarty

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Banking operations were hit today by the day-long, nation-wide strike called by employees of public sector banks, with ATMs running dry at various places across the country.

The All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) claimed success, saying all the branches kept their shutters down.

“People could not go to banks to transact anything, deposit money, withdraw money or do any other transaction.

Government treasury transactions could not be done, import and export transactions were hit, money market operations were not possible,” AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam told PTI.

Money transfer and cash remittances were also hit.

Venkatachalam said clearing operations have been paralysed in a big way despite the Reserve Bank keeping its operations open because employees were not available.

Some private sector banks are also part of the strike called under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to press their demands including fixing accountability of top officers over increasing bad loans, opposing labour reforms as well as outsourcing of permanent jobs.

Karur Vysya Bank and Federal Bank said their staff union and officers' associations, under the banner of UFBU, are participating in the strike.

“Regular functioning of the branches of the bank might be affected on that day. However the bank’s ATMs and digital channels will function to meet customer needs,” Federal Bank said.

Private sector banks including ICICI, HDFC, Axis were not part of the strike.

ATMs have gone dry in various places, Venkatachalam said, adding that some banks had limited cash to keep the machines going.

UFBU is an umbrella body of 9 unions. However two of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh affiliates — the National Organisation of Bank Workers and the National Organisation of Bank Officers — are not part of the strike.

The demands include compensation to employees and officers for extra hours they had put in following demonetisation in November and early initiation of next wage revision.

They have also demanded adequate recruitment in all cadres, stringent measures to recover bad loans and accountability of top executives. Besides, they have pitched for criminal action against wilful defaulters.

The UFBU, which claims membership of nearly 10 lakh across banks, also requested the government for cost reimbursement of demonetisation to banks.

As many as 27 public sector banks control 75 per cent of the total business.

Banking services affected in TN, Puducherry

Banking services remained affected across Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry following the strike called by banking unions pressing for various demands.

About 70,000 employees of various public and private banks in Tamil Nadu and Puduchery are taking part in the strike, called by the United Forum of Banking Unions.

Banking transactions including withdrawal of cash, cheque clearance and cash deposits, ATM services were also affected.

Bank employees staged a protest in Valluvarkottam in Chennai raising slogans and holding placards that read 'Working Class Zindabad'.

“People deposit about Rs 100 lakh crore in public sector banks. If public sector banks are privatised, it (deposits) will go into the hands of private sector. Due to the strike, today alone nearly 12 lakh cheque transactions were affected in Chennai. Value will be about Rs 7,000 crore”, AIBEA General-Secretary, CH Venkatachalam told PTI.

Terming the strike as a ‘grand success’, Venkatachalam said during the Budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the Government had announced only Rs 10,000 crore as capital.

“We need capital of about Rs 10 lakh crore in public sector banks. But the FM (Finance Minister Arun Jaitley) has announced only Rs 2 lakh crore. This will only encourage private sector banks”, he alleged.

He said the unions would meet in New Delhi in the next 10 days and would decide on the “next course of action”.

Published on February 28, 2017
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