Banking sector bears brunt of strike

February 28th, 2012 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

State Bank of India New Delhi/Mumbai, Feb 28 (IANS) State-owned banks were the worst hit Tuesday as nearly eight lakh government employees went on a nationwide strike called by 11 major trade unions, forcing banks to shut branches and curtail key operations.

Most state-run banks were closed for customers across the country. Retail banking operations bore the brunt of the strife with many officials absent from duty.

The country’s largest lender, the State Bank of India, has informed the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) that its operations would be affected due to the strike.

The bank told BSE that All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) had given a notice to it calling for an all India strike on Tuesday.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) also saw its employees joining the stir.

Meanwhile, other sectors like mining, manufacturing and insurance were hit by the strike too.

The effect of the strike was seen throughout the country, with low employee turnout at state-owned offices, factories and mines. Markets also bore a deserted look due to low customer turnout.

However, railways and flight operations were not much affected with many airlines operating according to normal schedule.

“Operations are normal as per schedule. No cancellations or rescheduling of flights. Our operations are normal even in Kolkata and Thiruvananthapuram,” a senior Air India official told IANS.

Similarly, Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials said operations through the country were unhindered.

Jet Airways on the other hand had to combine 12 of its flights, operating to and from Kolkata as the number of passengers dipped due to the strike.

In all, 11 trade unions, 5,000 unaffiliated unions with around eight lakh public sector bank employees, barring the railways, are participating in the strike which has been supported by the trade union wings of all major parties.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had earlier appealed to all major trade unions and 5,000 unaffiliated unions to call off the strike. But the unions rejected the appeal as it came only 48 hours before one of the largest strike calls in the history of independent India.

The trade union are demanding an universal social security net for all unorganised sector workers through creation of a national social security fund, enforcement of basic labour laws and stringent punitive action against violation of labour laws.

Other demands in the charter of the trade unions include an amendment to the minimum wages act, provision for pensions, abolition of contract-based appointments and putting an end to the disinvestment process of profit-making public sector undertakings (PSUs).

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