Public sector bank employees on strike across India

August 20th, 2008 - 3:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Aug 20 (IANS) Work has come to a complete standstill at all state-owned banks here except State Bank of India (SBI) following a one-day token strike Wednesday called by Left trade unions.”We have organised this one-day token strike to protest against the privatisation, foreignisation and merger and consolidation of public sector banks,” said Rajen Nagar, national president of All-India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), a Left-affiliated trade union, which has called the strike.

The AIBEA has a membership of around 500,000. Apart from those of public sector banks, employees of regional rural banks and cooperative banks are also participating in the strike.

They are also protesting against what the trade unions call the “pro-big capital” banking policy.

“The strike is on in a big way,” Nagar confirmed.

The AIBEA has made a slew of demands such as making banking policies pro-people; increasing credit to the priority sector including to agriculture, small and marginal enterprises, self-employment generation schemes and small borrowers; nationalising private sector banks and allowing expansion of public sector banks.

“We want more banks in areas where there is a dearth of banking facilities,” Nagar added.

This strike comes barely two days after officers of the country’s largest bank SBI and its associate banks went on a strike to protest against the merger of SBI and the State Bank of Saurashtra.

In West Bengal, employees of all 27 state-owned banks except SBI are participating in the strike, Nagar said.

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