Bank strike affects commercial activity for second day
Banking operations, government and foreign exchange transactions and the money market were hit for the second day Tuesday by the employees' countrywide strike.
The two-day strike was called in protest against the proposed banking sector reforms and to press for an immediate revision in wages.
Over a million bank employees and officers working in 27 public sector banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI), 12 private and eight foreign banks and regional rural banks took part in the strike.
In Chennai, the All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) said that its two-day strike has been a total success.
"Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's statement Monday that bank profits cannot be used for wage hike is wrong. The profits of banks have been going up. The profits are being used to write off bad loans," K. Anandakumar, senior vice president, AIBOC told IANS.
"In the last six years, a whopping Rs.141,294 crore of bad loans have been written off. During last five years Rs.140,266 crore have been provided towards bad loans from profits," C.H. Venkatachalam, general secretary, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), told IANS.
The union officials are unanimous that employees cannot be held responsible for the banks' bad loans.
In the country's financial capital Mumbai, the strike saw ATMs running out of cash, dealing a further blow to most business and commercial activities.
All branches of public sector banks, private banks, many foreign banks in the city, and the regional rural bank branches, bore a deserted look.
(Posted on 11-02-2014)