Mangalore: Bank Employees Respond to Nationwide Call for Strike, Decry Reforms
Pics: Ramesh Pandith / Hemanath Padubidri
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangalore
Mangalore, Aug 22: In response to the nationwide call for strike given by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), employees of public sector banks in the city staged a protest near State Bank on Wednesday August 22 against proposed reforms in banking sector and outsourcing of non-core activities.
Across India, over a million employees of 27 public sector banks, 12 old generation private banks and eight foreign banks joined the strike.
Among other things, the employees are protesting the government's move to amend the banking laws bill, presently pending before parliament and scheduled for discussions on August 23 and 24.
Normal banking activities were crippled in all state-run and some private banks.
Among the operations hit were normal in-house across the counter services for ordinary customers, foreign exchange transactions, export-import and local bills, clearing of all types of cheques, bank lockers operations, capital markets and other activities carried out through banks.
The banking law bill proposes to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and Banking Companies' Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings Act. The proposals aim at merger of banks, allowing more private and foreign capital, unrestricted voting rights, decision to grant licences to corporate houses to start new banks.
The protestors expressed fears that the proposed measures may result in the closure of rural bank branches and lead to opening of ultra-small branches, thereby privatising rural banking operations through contractual business.
The opposed the 'retrograde recommendations' of Khandelwal Committee and said that attempts were being made to unilaterally implement recommendations of HR matters through arbitarary guidelines.
They demanded resolution of long-pending issues raised by UFBU such as appointment schemes on compassionate grounds, regulated and defined working hours, revised guidelines on staff housing loan, 5 -day banking, improvements in pension scheme, etc.
They also opposed outsourcing of work to outside agencies, and other 'anti-labour' policies which they said would jeopardise jobs in the banking sector and undermine collective bargaining strength of the employees
The strike paralysed banking activities in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. However, a few private banks and ATMs continued to function normally, but sources said that ATMs of banks joining in the protest will function only as long as they have money.
With IANS inputs