INDIA: The two-day strike announced by many trade unions across the country disrupted banking services on Tuesday.
The All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) has organised the action to protest the government’s “anti-worker” policies, especially its plan to privatise IDBI Bank.
The bank union’s demands include a five-day workweek for banks, the restoration of the previous pension system, the availability of child care leave, and the elimination of the DA disparity between LIC and bank employees.
On Monday, a number of bank locations around the country remained closed. The All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) declared the strike was a success in several states since bank employees participated in huge numbers in rallies and marches.
“Employees appear to be particularly dissatisfied with the government’s plan to privatise banks. After a rigorous recruitment process, thousands of young employees and officials have joined public sector banks, with many of them leaving IT and other private-sector employment to join government-owned banks only for the job security.”
“As a result, the government’s intention to privatise the banks is both shocking and discouraging,” the bank union stated.
The AIBEA said it backed the strike call to focus on strengthening public sector banks, including halting haircuts and resuming bad loan recovery, raising interest rates on bank deposits, regularising contractual staff, and restoring the DA-linked pension programme, among other things.
The central trade unions’ joint forum and various other independent trade unions have called for a two-day walkout on March 28 and 29 to protest the central government’s “anti-people” economic policies and “anti-worker” labour laws.
Among their demands are the repeal of labour laws, no privatisation, the cancellation of NPS and an increase in the minimum pension under the Employees’ Pension Scheme, an increase in MNREGA allocation, food and income support of $7,500 per month for non-income taxpaying households, and a significant reduction in the central excise duty on petroleum products.
Unions from a variety of industries have backed the strike call, including coal, steel, oil, telecom, postal, income tax, copper, banks, and insurance.