Bank employees stage protest in New Delhi, Kolkata

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New Delhi / Kolkata, Aug 6 (ANI): Bank employees in the national capital took to streets on Thursday following the nationwide strike, which was announced after talks between the United Forum of Bank Union's (UFBU) and the Indian Bank Association (IBA) had failed on Tuesday.

About one million employees of country's dominating public sector banks along with some private and foreign banks staff are on a two-day strike demanding the government to increase their wages by 17 per cent, as agreed to between bank unions and IBA earlier.

The employees are now blaming the IBA for backtracking from its earlier commitment.

"One of the main reasons for the strike is the wage revision. Earlier, they promised us a 17 per cent increase, they reduced it to 15 per cent on our next meeting and then to 13 per cent in the following reconciliatory meeting on Tuesday," said JP Sharma, Vice-President of All India Bank Employees' Association.

Earlier, the unions had called a strike on June 12 but had withdrawn it in the last hour after the management agreed to meet some of their demands on pension scheme and higher wages.

Meanwhile, in Kolkata, bank employees held a demonstration outside the State Bank of India building.

Besides wage hike, the bank employees were demanding immediate resumption of negotiations, pension for all, a better social security net and a proper policy for giving jobs to the family members of deceased or disabled employees on compassionate grounds.

India has 80 commercial banks, including 29 foreign banks and nearly 3,000 urban and rural co-operative banks. State-run banks as a sector, the employees of which are on strike, corner 55 percent of all assets.

The strike, followed by a weekend, is feared to delay cheque clearance till next week. Cheques of all banks worth nearly Rs.40 million are cleared on an average day.

Meanwhile, ATMs within bank branches would be closed, but standalone ATMs would function during the strike. (ANI)

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