Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Strike hits transactions worth Rs 300cr

Dear Comrades,

LUCKNOW: Financial transactions worth nearly Rs 2,500 crore were affected as employees of banks and various post offices across the state in association with central trade unions went on a strike on Tuesday. The protesting employees were demanding end to contract labour, amendment to Minimum Wages Act, increase the gratuity payout and compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days. The employees also demanded compensatory service to a family member in case of death of an employee.
In Lucknow alone, the transaction loss was estimated to be around Rs 300 crore.

This includes the government as well as the business and industry transactions. Various post offices, including the general post office (GPO) in the state capital remained closed. This has not only affected postal services, but also payment of bills towards undertakings such as the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), which have their counters at the GPO. Employees of BSNL too joined the strike.

Some of the post offices were opened, but employees refused to work citing strike. In case of few others, gates were closed and no one was allowed to enter the premises. Rajbir Singh, a business executive dealing electronic goods said that the payments made towards the company were badly hit.
The strike, however, did not have any impact on the crucial establishments like the Amausi airport. Authorities said that none of the employees were part of the striking associations. However, as a precautionary measure, authorities did inform about the situation of the district administration as well as the police.

District president of National Confederation of Bank Employees' Federation (NCBEF), Tahir Ali, meanwhile, termed the strike "successful".

"The strike was peaceful and successful," he said, and added that except All India Bank Officers Association, all other seven unions were part of the strike. Ali also said that around Rs 400 crores remained suspended and could not be cleared at the Punjab National Bank (PNB).

While officers of State Bank of India (SBI) remained at their seats, it was the class III employees who refrained from work.

It was essentially the NCBEF, the umbrella association of all bank employees, which called the strike.
Soon, other associations, backed by central trade unions like All India Trade Union Congress and Indian National Trade Union Congress, joined them.

Agitating employees say that they have been raising their demands for the past two years.

"However, neither the management nor the ministry gave a heed to it. This forced us to go on a strike," Ali said. Employees were also peeved with the outsourcing mechanism, which they claim has hit the industry severely.

"At the same time our working conditions have deteriorated," said Alok Tewari a bank employee.

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