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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bank strike in India cripples services

Mumbai, August 22
A two-day strike by employees of nationalised banks, 12 old generation private banks and eight foreign banks crippled banking services across the country.
The strike call by the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), the umbrella organisation of several trade unions and officers’ associations of banks, received overwhelming response with more than a million employees staying away from work, the UFBU said in a statement here.
The All-India Bank Employees Association, the biggest of the unions, said the strike aimed at preventing passage of the banking reforms Bill that aimed at amending the banking laws to allow managements to fix salaries as per their banks’ financial performance. The proposals also involved greater leeway for managements to promote and recruit employees directly from the market in addition to raising qualifications for employees, AIBEA general secretary Vishwas Utagi said.
Under the garb of banking reforms, managements were being allowed to outsource important functions to third-party operators, unions alleged. This, they said, would jeopardise the rural initiatives of major nationalised banks.
According to the unions, routine banking services for customers, foreign exchange transactions, cheque clearance and capital market activities were affected. Analysts said the volume of transactions in the forex markets was low as only the major private banks were operating today.
Customers were depending more on the ATMs as the bank managements had made advance arrangement for loading the machines with cash. “Several banks, including the SBI, have outsourced cash-loading business with private firms. Most of the ATMs have enough capacity,” a senior SBI official said. However, the fund movement of individuals and corporates would get affected because of delays in cheque clearances.
The volumes in the government bond and share markets were also impacted.
Over 10 lakh employees and officers all over the country joined the strike
The call for the two-day strike was given by the United Forum of Banking Unions
The strike aimed at preventing passage of the banking reforms Bill
The Bill would allow managements to fix salaries as per banks’ financial performance

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