The all-India strike that was called in by the Federal of Bank of India Officer’s Associations (FBIOA) against the Narendra Modi-led government’s monetary policy and reforms in the banking industry and labour laws, banks has affected the operations of banks across the country, inconvenience was caused to the public and the clearance of 40 lakh cheques worth Rs 22,000 crore was affected. Over 10 lakh bank employees and officials took place in the protest against the government’s ‘anti-people banking reforms.’ According to an IANS report, C.H. Venkatachalam, the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) General Secretary said, “Around 85,000 branches of commercial banks, 105,000 branches of co-operative banks and others went on strike.”
Emploees from public sector banks, foreign banks, regional rural banks, coopertative banks and all old-generation private banks took part in the strike. A government owned bank official in an interview said, “The clerical staff will get overtime allowance for working extra during the demonetisation period. But the officers will not get anything and in addition they will be losing a day’s salary due to the strike,” but his views were contradicted by D. Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, who is the Senior Vice President of the All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC). D.Thomas said, “Our demand is to treat all the employees equally. And officers will also get their due share.”
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The Northern Region President of AIBEA, J.P Sharma in an interview said that the strike was a success in the entire region. He said, “With all employees of all state-run banks and many private ones also going on strike, it had a complete impact. Most branches were locked.” Private banks like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and others did not take part in the strike but cheque clearances did not take place there also. Rajen Nagar who is the state AIBEA President said, “Employees and officers from about 8,000 branches of commercial, cooperative and rural banks in Bengal are observing the strike. It is 100 percent successful. Out of around 10,000 ATMs, about 90 percent of them remained shut.”
Protest rallies were conducted in many cities that affected both government and foreign exchange transactions due to the shut down of the banking operations. According to unions, the adverse effect of demonetisation on the economy has resulted in decline in the GDP growth rate and has taken away the lives of more than 100 citizens including more than 10 bank employees.
With agency inputs.