Strike paralyses financial sector in western region

The 48-hour nationwide strike called by 11 Central Trade Unions, against UPA's economic and alleged anti-labour policies, today crippled financial services in five states of Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat as almost all banks, insurance companies and commercial establishments remained shut.

In financial hub Mumbai, the strike witnessed near cent per cent participation by employees from banking and insurance sector leaving their operations completely paralysed.

"We have received massive response to our strike call and operations in banks and insurance companies are completely shut," All India Banks Employees Association Vice President Vishwas Utagi said here.

However, Reserve Bank operations remained unaffected even though Grade III and IV employees struck work, joining the two-day bandh call.

Also, the strike had little impact on normal life in Mumbai as suburban railway, the city's life line, functioned normally and road traffic was unaffected though there were fewer passengers using public transport.

Flight operations at the Mumbai airport too were normal despite a section of airport unions declaring their support to the strike.

Elsewhere in Maharashtra, at Nashik work was badly affected in many industrial units and banking sector as atleast one lakh employees, associated with Nashik District Labourer Employees Association (NDLEA) participated in the strike from today, to press for their various demands.

Also, Central Government postal employees staged a huge dharna in front of their respective offices, impacting services.

At Nagpur, financial transactions mostly in nationalised banks and other institutions like LIC were affected. Members of National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU) and bank employees took out a combined rally in the city and held demonstrations to denounce alleged anti-labour policies of the government, price rise of essential commodities and lack of employment generation among other demands.

Transport services were unaffected as town buses and auto rickshaws were plying without any disruption.

In Gujarat, banking services were severely hit as over 12,000 officers and 35,000 other banking employees joined the nation wide strike call given by UnitedForum for Bank Union (UFBU), impacting financial transactions of Rs 30,000 crore.

"All clearing house operations remained closed disrupting financial transactions (cheque clearance)to the tune of over Rs 30,000 crore across the state," General Secretary State Bank of India Officer Association (SBIOA) Ahmedabad Shankar Patel said.

Bank employees took out a rally at Lal Darwaja and staged demonstration to register their protest.

The strike threw normal life out of gear after employees of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) joined the strike call for 24 hours from yesterday night, resulting in stoppage of trips of around 8,000 buses in the state.

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