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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Strike to hit bank services today, tomorrow

Banking services across the country are likely to get affected for two days starting Wednesday following the strike call by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) .

The strike comes on the back of an extended weekend — Parsi New Year (Saturday) and Id ul-Fitr (Monday).

UFBU, an umbrella organisation of nine trade unions in the banking sector, represents nearly 10 lakh employees of public sector banks, private sector banks, foreign banks, regional rural banks and co-operative banks.

“We expect about 75,000 bank branches to remain closed. There are about 90,000 ATMs in the country and most of them will run dry in a couple of hours,” Vishwas Utagi, General-Secretary, Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation, said.

According to Gautam Bose, Convenor, UFBU, West Bengal unit, the strike has been called primarily to oppose the Government’s proposal to increase shareholder voting rights from 1 per cent to 10 per cent in public sector banks and to 26 per cent (10 per cent) in private banks. This would lead to privatisation of banks, he said.

“Indira Gandhi nationalised Indian banks in 1969, and this Government is trying to undo that,” Utagi said. “This is a disastrous step.”

The All-India Bank Employees Association General-Secretary, CH Venkatachalam, said the Government has provoked the unions to strike work. The Government has made up its mind to introduce the Banking (Laws) Amendment Bill despite the unions opposing it, he added.

“We had called for a two-day strike in July, but the Chief Labour Commissioner intervened and the Indian Banks’ Association assured us they will look into the matter. So we deferred the strike and gave them 10 days’ time. But that has not yielded any result,” Bose said.
HR issues

UFBU wants the Khandelwal Committee’s recommendations scrapped as it bypasses the employee unions in respect of HR matters. In addition, the union has drawn the Government’s attention to certain pending issues such as granting of compassionate appointment, revision of pension and the introduction of regulated work hours.

The Left parties will oppose the Bill in Parliament tomorrow, and we will oppose it in every centre in the country, Utagi said.

All-India Bank Employees Association, All-India Bank Officers Confederation, National Confederation of Bank Employees, All-India Bank Officers Association, Bank Employees Federation of India, India National Bank Employees Federation, Indian National Bank Officers Congress, National Organisation of Bank Workers and National Organisation of Bank Officers are part of the UFBU.


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