General Strike Action: Banking Employees’ strike causes banking operations to halt

Photos courtesy of Theekathir

More than 1500 banking employees  from United Forum of Bank Unions protested on 20th and 21st as they struck work on the General Strike Action being observed nationally. The United Forum of Bank Unions is a national federation of 9 unions comprising of 4 officers unions and 5 workers union. On 20th, the banking employees including 300 women protested in front of Union Bank of India, Broadway at the heart of the city. On 21st,the employees protested near Singaravelar Maligai in front of Chennai Collectorate. C.S Venkatachalam of All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), C.P.Krishnan of Bank Employees Federation of India(BEFI), Baskar of National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE) addressed the protestors.

Speaking on behalf of the striking employees, C.P.Krishnan of Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) said that the strike was being observed in support of the central trade unions’ demands which include control of spiraling price rise of essential commodities, demand against de-regularization of fuel prices, immediate withdrawal of FDI in Retail, Insurance and Pension, immediate stop to privatization of public sectors and minimum monthly wage of Rs 10000 for all workers.

Mr. Krishnan also stated that the long standing grievances of Banking employees are being ignored by public sector banks. The compassionate employment zone has been put on hold for the past 10 years and the bank employees unions are demanding that this policy is revived. The wage revision demands by the unions are being drawn out by the management for 2-3 years. There has been no response from the bank management on the pension proposals by the union. Deploring the lack of proper work schedule for bank officers, Mr. Krishnan said that officers have to work overtime. He charged that the State Bank management has instead targeted union members by creating false charge sheets and memos on the employees.  He demanded that these witch hunting by the management should stop.

Employees from various banks including public sector, private sector, gramin banks, cooperative banks and reserve bank are participating in the 2 day protests statewide and nationwide. Throughout India, 99% of the banking came to a halt during the two day general strike.

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