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Strike affects clearing business at banks

C H Venkatachalam

New Delhi:  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.

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