Employees' stir paralyses banking in western India

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Mumbai, Dec 5:  All banking activities were paralysed in western India as over 450,000 staffers went on a strike on Friday in the last leg of a four-day nationwide agitation, an official said here.

"The bank strike was a total success in 35,000 branches in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and the union territories of Daman and Diu today (Friday), and was topped off by a rally of over 20,000 in Mumbai this afternoon," V. Utagi, senior vice-president of the All Indian Bank Employees Union told IANS.

Bank strike hits western India

The strike crippled clearance of millions of cheques, government transactions, forex, stock market transactions, money markets and other functions, besides international operations, said Utagi, the Maharashtra convenor of the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU) which is spearheading the agitation.

In Mumbai alone, clearing of over 2.50 million cheques worth over Rs.400,000 crore was hit and cash in ATMs in many places was exhausted by noon.

The western zonal region was the fourth and final in the four-day united action that hit the banking industry since Dec 2, with the employees' unions demanding proper wage revision.

He pointed out that the wage revision for bank employees is due since Nov 1, 2012 after the last Bipartite Settlement expired Oct 31, 2012.

The common charter of demands, separately for workmen and officers, was submitted to the Indian Banks Association by UFBU in October, 2012, before the expiry of the Bipartite Settlement.

The last nationwide banking strike by UFBU covering 75,000 branches of 27 public sector banks as well as 25,000 branches of 18 private and eight foreign banks, took place Nov 12.

UFBU is an umbrella organisation of nine unions of bank employees and officers, including 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.

IANS

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