Around 2 million cheques worth about Rs 18,000 crore could not be sent for clearance due to the strike called by bank employees on November 26. The strike was called to protest against the continued anti-worker labour policies of the government.
C H Venkatachalam, general secretary, All India Bank Employees Union (AIBEA), said that nearly 2 million cheques worth Rs 18,000 crore could not be sent to clearing houses due to the strike.
"Employees joined the strike with enthusiasm and expressed their anger against the government's policies. We thank them for their participation and support to the strike," he said.
According to him, employees of State Bank of India (SBI) are not participating in the strike, also officers in other banks are not striking work.
Banking transactions have been affected in major states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar and others.
In Tamil Nadu, the state government had declared a public holiday in 16 districts owing to the cyclone, hence banks were fully closed. In other parts of the state too the strike is total, Venkatachalam said.
Apart from AIBEA, other bank unions such as the AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, AIRBEA, AIRBWF, Unions in RRBs, Unions in co-operative banks also joined the strike.
Venkatachalam said that the unions were opposed to the government's policy of privatisation and unwarranted merger of banks, but still the government was going ahead with these policies. He also alleged that instead of focussing on recovery of corporate bad loans, the government was giving concessions to corporates and increasing service charges for common people.
Unions' demands include strengthening of public sector banks instead of their privatisation. Unions also oppose allowing corporate houses to promote banks, closure of bank branches and the amalgamation of Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBS Bank. The unions have also urged the government to take action against 9,331 wilful defaulters, who alone owe Rs 1,22,018 crore to the country's lenders.