Cheni/New Delhi/Kolkata, September 2 :Banking and insurance services were hit on Wednesday as lakhs of bank and insurance employees across the country struck work in protest against the anti-trade union and worker policies of the BJP-led central government. “Clearing of cheques totalling around Rs.370,000 crore were affected across the country due to the strike. The total number of instruments were around six crore,” C.H. Venkatachalam, general secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), told IANS. According to him, around 500,000 bankers - workers and officers - from across the country participated in the strike. Around 75,000 branches did not function. “The strike in West Bengal was a total success with 100 percent of employees joining it. The response from both public sector and private sector banks was overwhelming and all banking operations were hit today,” Pradip Biswas, general secretary, Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), told IANS.
“Some of our workers received threats from the local political organisations dictating them to join work as normal routine and refrain from the strike. Our members, however, have braved them,” Biswas added. Similarly, in the government owned life and non-life insurance companies the strike was a success. “The strike was a total success in Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and the four government owned non-life insurers. Around 100,000 insurance sector employees were on strike tionwide,” V.Ramesh, general secretary, All India Insurance Employees Association (AIIEA), told IANS over phone from Hyderabad. According to him, insurance offices in West Bengal and Kerala were closed. Unions in the non-life insurance sector are demanding early conclusion of wage negotiations, filisation of the promotion policy and scrapping of outsourcing, among other demands.
Transport unions in the country are also striking work over the proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill. (IANS)