Stir brings banking sector to a grinding halt



Coming to a standstill:Workers of all unions participating in a rally as part of the nation-wide general strike called by central trade unions, in Hyderabad on Friday. (Below) Buses grounded at the MGBS.- Photos: G. Ramakrishna
The number of employees who struck work in the State and neighbouring AP was put at 35,000

Government buses remained off the roads leaving commuters in the lurch and operations at several banks were impacted on Friday after a large section of the employees in Hyderabad and rest of Telangana joined the nationwide strike called by frontline trade unions.

Several industrial units in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy districts remained closed, while some educational institutions functioned. Most of the shops and commercial establishments remained open.

In the banking sector alone, the number of employees who struck work in the State and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh was put at 35,000 by Bank Employees Federation of India general secretary (AP & TS) P. Venkataramaiah.

As many as 5,000 bank branches in both the States did not function, All India Bank Employees Association secretary B.S. Rambabu said, adding in some banks both employees and officers participated. Where officers reported for work, the branches were opened but no cash or cheque transaction was possible.

Work at public sector, cooperative and regional rural besides old generation private banks were impacted, while State Bank of India and private banks such as HDFC and ICICI functioned as usual, the leader said.

All India Andhra Bank Award Employees’ Union general secretary T. Ravindranath said around 10,000 employees and officers of Andhra Bank across the country struck work opposing the Central government’s move to privatise/disinvest in public sector units and encourage foreign direct investment in defence, railways, insurance, banks and retail. They also protested against the move aimed at consolidation and merger of banks and demanded stringent measures for recovery of Rs.13 lakh crore bad loans.

A joint release from RBI Employees Association secretary G.Kranti and Reserve Bank Workers Union chief secretary G.Jagdish said all their members took part in the strike.

Leader of a trade and industry body, who requested anonymity, said while exact details of the loss and number of workers who stayed away would be known on Saturday, initial reports point to 60 per cent of the industrial units in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy remaining shut.
Source - The hindu

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