Indian banking affected by employee's strike

Mumbai: Banking operations were affected all over India Wednesday as over a million bank employees went on a day's strike in support of their various demands, including pay revision, an official said here.

The strike was total in 75,000 branches of 27 public sector banks, and 25,000 branches of 18 private and eight foreign banks across India, said All India Bank Employees Association senior vice president Vishwas Utagi.

"No banking related activity has started anywhere in the country, including the early morning clearing house related operations. All other sectors connected directly or indirectly to banking shall be down for the day," Utagi, who is Maharashtra convenor of the umbrella body United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), told IANS.

He estimated that more than 10 crore cheques will not be cleared and may be delayed by upto five days in view of the daylong strike Wednesday.

This is the first strike since the NDA-II took over in May this year. Earlier, the banking industry had gone on a crippling two-day nationwide strike Feb 10-11.

By afternoon, Utagi said that ATMs may run out of cash after multiple transactions exhaust cash and would not be replenished till Thursday morning.

Citing official figures, he said that the total volume of the Indian banking industry is more than 155 lakh-crores, which has been completely blocked by the daylong strike.

"Maharashtra alone accounts for around one-third of the total business volumes... There are over 200,000 bank employees - or 20 percent of the total banking employees strength - in Maharashtra with 90 percent of all banking activities concentrated in Mumbai, Thane and Pune," Utagi said.

Among other things, the bank employees are demanding immediate fair revision in payscales and oppose the proposed reforms in the banking sector.

The UFBU includes AIBEA, National Confederation of Bank Employees, Bank Employees Federation of India, Indian National Bank Employees Federation, Indian National Bank Officers Congress, National Organisation of Bank Workers, All India Bank Officers Association, and National Organisation of Bank Officers.

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