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Posted at: Oct 23, 2019, 7:26 AM; last updated: Oct 23, 2019, 7:26 AM (IST)

Strike paralyses banking services

Strike paralyses banking services
Bank employees hold a protest at the Bharat Nagar chowk in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Photo: Ashwani Dhiman

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 22

Work in city banks came to a halt as the All-India Bank Employees Association and the Bank Employees Federation went on a strike today.

Customers had to face a tough time as no work was carried out in the banks today following the strike call. Bank employees maintained that the strike was not for their own rights, instead they were fighting against the privatisation of banks.

Naresh Gaur, convener, asked the government to stop loot of public money by loan defaulters and ensure recovery of bad loans of corporate defaulters.

He said: “This is not our fight alone. This is a fight for the country. We are against the privatisation move,” he said.

The striking employees are demanding to stop merger of banks, stop banking reforms, recover bad loans, strict action against defaulters, not to harass customers with penal charges and not to increase service charges, increase interest rate on deposits, provide proper job security and adequate recruitment in banks.

A massive rally was organised by the Punjab Bank Employees’ Federation (Ludhiana Unit) in front of Canara Bank, Bharat Nagar Chowk Ludhiana. Com DP Maur, general secretary, Joint Trade Union Council, Ludhiana, and Com Naresh Gaur, secretary, PBEF, Ludhiana, addressed the rally, along with leaders of the PBEF.

The leaders said within no time, the Centre would merge PNB, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India, Indian Bank, United Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Andhra Bank into 4 banks. It means that 6 banks (United Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Andhra Bank) would now get closed. The government might call it a merger, but in reality it was cold-blooded murder of 6 banks.

The leaders said public sector banks had been playing a leading role in augmenting the precious savings of the people and deploying the same as credit to all the needy sectors of the economy. From mere 8,000 branches, today banks had grown into an industry with 90,000 branches. Branches had been opened in every nook and corner of villages, thus taking banking to the common people. But unfortunately, in the name of new economic policies and liberalisation of banking regulations, banking sector reforms were being pursued in the past 28 years by successive governments. The main idea was to deregulate the banking sector and liberalise the existing controls, said the leaders. They said the attempt was to privatise these banks.

The mergers would result in staff redundancy and threaten job security, besides drastically reducing future job potential depriving the youth to get jobs.

There is an urgent need to recruit staff in all banks, said the striking employees.

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