Second day of banking strike hurts businesses, economy

Second day of banking strike hurts businesses, economy

The ongoing banking sector strike took its toll in the form of ATMs running out of cash in the country's financial capital and other cities, dealing a further blow to most business and commercial activities here Tuesday.

All branches of public sector banks, private banks, many foreign banks in the city, and the regional rural bank branches, bore a deserted look.

According to the United Forum of Bank Unions (UBFU) state convenor Ravi Shetty, there have been reports from many places of ATM machines emptying of cash as the banks are unable to replenish them due to the bankmen's strike.

All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) vice-president Vishwas Utagi said that on the first day, around 10 crore cheques worth nearly Rs.740,000 crore could not be cleared due to the strike.

Shetty said the strike, which started Monday 6 a.m., will end Wednesday 6 a.m.

"The strike continues to be total. Over a million employees in all these banks - barring the cooperative sector banks - are taking part with around 90,000 bank branches remaining shut in support of our various demands," Shetty said.

As many as 27 public sector banks, 18 private banks, eight foreign banks and 48 Regional Rural Banks across India have joined the strike call by the UBFU, an umbrella organisation with top bank employees and officers unions under its fold.

Utagi said that besides the pending issue of wage revisions, the UBFU is also opposing banking reforms like privatisation of banks, mergers, issuing new bank licenses to corporate houses, rising non-performing assets and related aspects.

The UBFU comprises AIBEA, National Confederation of Bank Employees, Bank Employees Federation of India, Indian National Bank Employees Federation, Indian National Bank Officers Congress, National Organisation of Bank Workers, All India Bank Officers Association, and National Organisation of Bank Officers.

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