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PSU bank staff observe nationwide strike

Private sector banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were functioning normally because their staff are not on strike.

All the members affiliated to nine bank employees and officers unions have gone on strike, United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) convener C H Venkatachalam said. Banks including country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) had informed the customers well in advance about the likely inconvenience due to strike.

General secretary of National Organisation of Bank Workers Ashwini Rana said Indian Banks' Association (IBA) held discussions with UFBU on 14 December on wage revision. After a lot of deliberations, IBA stated they would be able to offer an increase of 5 per cent over the wage expenses. Since their offer was too low and not acceptable to the unions, it has been decided to go ahead with the strike, Rana said. The wage revision of bank employees was due from November 2012.

UFBU is an umbrella organisation of nine bank employees and officers unions. There are 27 public sector banks in the country with employees strength of about 8 lakh. There are about 50,000 branches of these banks across the country.

The nation-wide strike affected financial transactions in many states. Opeartions came to a halt in banks in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh as employees of public sector banks went on a day-long strike.  Due to strike, cheques worth several crore of rupees remained uncleared while transactions like cash withdrawal, cash and cheque deposits were affected. Industrial sector including MSME and large enterprises in Punjab and Haryana said their business transactions were hampered due to the strike. Protesting bank employees carried out protest rallies and demonstrations at several places including Ludhiana to press for their demands. ‘Our intention is not to harass customers by observing the strike. But we are left with no option except to go on strike as our demands like wage hike have not been met for long,’ Punjab Bank Employees Federation Secretary Naresh Gaur said.
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