Over 65,000 employees and officers took part in demonstration

Barring a few private sector banks, the banking operations across the State were paralysed on Wednesday, following a day’s strike call given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU).

Over 65,000 employees and officers of various public sector banks, private banks and foreign banks in the State took part in the demonstration at 300 centres demanding immediate wage revision settlement and protesting against the ongoing banking sector reforms. In the city, about 2,000 officers/employees participated in the demonstration held in front of the Collectors office and 12,000 in the strike, said All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) general secretary, C.H. Venkatachalam.

At the national level, over 10 lakh bank employees and officers took part in the strike call given by UFBU that comprises nine bank trade unions, said Bank Employees Federation of India – Tamil Nadu general secretary, C.P. Krishnan. Due to the strike the clearing houses in the country could not process about 40 lakh cheques valued at Rs.32,000 crore. In Chennai, it was about three lakh cheques valued about Rs.2,200 crore, said Mr. Venkatachalam.

AIBEA joint secretary, R. Vijayakumar described the strike in Tamil Nadu as a total success with banking transactions including clearing operations coming to a halt. Most of the bank branches remained closed and in the process it disrupted normal banking services, government transactions, commercial transactions, foreign exchange transactions and money market operations.

“Even though UFBU had given notice for the strike a month ago, the Union Government and Indian Banks Association did not take steps to resolve our demands. Hence the strike was forced on us. If the management fails to respond, we will be left with no alternative than to further intensify the agitation,” Mr. Vijayakumar said.

A branch manager of a nationalised bank in the city said they had already informed their customers about the day’s strike in advance and postponement of cheques clearance by a day.

“People were seen standing in long queues to withdraw money at Automated Teller Machines. In many places, ATMs did not function or were dried up,” said Mr. Venkatachalam.