PSU bank staff go on strike; protest rallies in Punjab, Hry
Employees of public sector banks have gone on two-day nationwide strike on Wednesday, opposing banking sector reforms and outsourcing of non-core activities, affecting operations.chandigarh Updated: Aug 23, 2012 11:27 IST
Employees of public sector banks have gone on two-day nationwide strike on Wednesday, opposing banking sector reforms and outsourcing of non-core activities, affecting operations.
Several private sector banks, foreign banks and ATMs, however, continued to operate normally.
The strike call was given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of nine unions of employees and officers of PSU banks.
They are protesting against banking sector reforms and unilateral implementation of the Khandelwal committee report on human resources management in PSU banks.
"The strike is on since this morning. Nearly 10 lakh employees are participating in it. This includes 24 public- sector banks, 12 private banks and 6 foreign banks," All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general decretary CH Venkatachalam said.
He also said that ATM machines will work until they have the cash and thereafter those services will also be impacted.
The strike has been called against government's policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation.
Bank unions are demanding stringent and effective measures to recover bad loans.
There are about 87,000 branches of public sector banks, employing over 10 lakh people. The PSU banks, which operate 63,000 ATMs, control about 75 % banking business in the country.
According to reports, operations like deposit, withdrawl as well as clearing are affected in public sector banks, including the largest lender State Bank of India, due to the strike.
However, in the private sector, operations were normal in ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and foreign banks.
Among other things, the trade unions are protesting against Banking Laws Amendment Bill which is pending in Parliament and implementation of the Khandelwal committee report.
The Amendment Bill, 2011 contains provisions such as raising of shareholders' voting rights from 10 % to 26 % in private banks and supersession of bank boards.
The Centre-appointed Khandelwal panel had suggested a slew of measures, including more outsourcing of non-core activities in a time-bound manner.
According to reports, striking bank employees are carrying out protest rallies and holding demonstrations at several places in Punjab and Haryana.
"We will not allow the Centre to carry out the proposed banking reforms and implement Khandelwal committee report which recommended for outsourcing of non-core activities," Punjab Bank Employees' Federation, secretary Naresh Gaur said.
He said that bank branches had been locked from outside to prevent the entry of any bank officer.
"Our intention is not to harass our customers by observing the strike. But the Union government does not listen to our demands which is why we resort to go on strike," Gaur said.
First Published: Aug 22, 2012 13:44 IST