Strike to affect banking operations on Friday

Strike to affect banking operations on Friday

New Delhi: Banking operations across the country are expected to be affected on Friday due to a day-long strike by banks employees protesting against the proposed banking sector reforms.

“Over 10 lakh employees will be a part of the strike and you will see a direct impact on all the arms of banking across the country," Vishwas Utagi of All India Bank Employees Association said.

He said crucial banking arms such as clearing houses, forex departments, call money markets and the Reserve Bank offices too would remain closed.

Utagi said bank employees were hopeful that the issue would be raised in Parliament, which is currently in session.

Besides bank employees and officers of public sector banks, private banks, foreign banks, Co-operative banks and regional rural banks would also observe the strike.

The conciliation talks between United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and the bank management failed yesterday.

The issues include privatization of banking and outsourcing of bank jobs and attempts to impose anti- employee recommendations of Khandelwal Committee, a union official said.

In addition, there is pending issues related with pension and regulated working hours for officers.

The bank unions met financial services secretary as well as the IBA (Indian Banks’ Association) Chairman, but no solution could be found and the stalemate continued.

UFBU is an umbrella organization of 5 workman unions and 4 officers unions of public sector and private sector banks in the country.

"No concrete offer or commitment was made either by the Indian Bank Association (IBA) or by the government to resolve issues of agitating employees. Hence the strike," said a statement issued by All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.

In the name of banking sector reforms the government is attempting to reduce their share of equity capital in the public sector banks, thereby, increasing the hold of private capital in these banks, a bank union official said.

The government is also pursuing their policy of consolidation and merger of public sector banks, which are totally unwarranted and would in no way help in strengthening banks, the official added.