Strike evokes mixed response

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi/Kolkata | Updated: Feb 29 2012, 07:13am hrs
The all-India strike called by central trade unions evoked a mixed response. While banks and public sector undertakings (PSUs) were the most affected, schools and colleges as well as privately run services saw only a marginal impact.

Most of the PSBs in major cities were open, but the attendance remained thin as majority of clerical staff abstained from work. Although the PSU bank unions claimed that operations were badly hit with employees going on strike, the managements maintained that only some clerical staff did not report on duty.

State Bank of India's Deputy General Manager R Dipankar Basu said while branch operations have been partially hit as clerical staff were not attending office, officers are present in full strength. When asked about the impact on business, he said it is too early to say anything.

All-India Bank Employees Association convenor C H Venkatachalm, however, termed the impact of the strike a complete success as clearing houses remained totally paralysed with unions of Reserve Bank and SBI participating in the strike.

Interestingly in West Bengal, the state government went all out to minimise the the effect of the strike, despite the fact that even the ruling Trinamool Congress had indulged in what is termed bandh politics in the past.

Chief minister Mamta Banerjee had threatened a service break to government officials so Writers Buildings and other government offices saw much better attendance than earlier bandhs. The IT sector too managed to ensure 70-95% attendance, but the roads were deserted, schools shut and most people preferred to opt for a paid holiday.

We are very happy with the attendance. Throughout West Bengal, life has been normal. In some places, CPI-M and BJP have tried to create violence. There have been incidences of ransacking of buses and shops. The administration will take appropriate action against them, Banerjee told a press conference.

With both sides claiming victory, the Central trade unions will hold a meeting tomorrow to assess the success or failure of the strike.