PSBs staff on relay strike; govt asks management to stock ATMs

PSBs staff on relay strike; govt asks management to stock ATMs

As public sector bank employees in North India go on strike tomorrow, government today asked PSU banks to stock ATMs with enough cash and take steps to minimise inconvenience to customers.

Pressing for a wage hike public sector bank (PSB) employees began their four-day relay strike with staff in southern region going off work today.

Banks should take pre-emptive steps to ensure least inconvenience to general public and should adequately load ATMs, the Finance Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry also asked banks to ensure operation of clearing houses, continuation of Internet banking, and make arrangements for carrying out uninterrupted government business transactions.

The Centre is fully seized of the situation arising out of the notice given by the United Forum of Bank Unions for Zone-wise relay strikes from December 2-5, it said.

To press for early wage hike, PSU bank employees in southern region went on day-long strike.

All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C H Venkatachalam claimed that about 22,000 branches of PSU banks were closed in South India and 1.5 lakh employees took part in the strike.

The Chennai Clearing house centre which deals with the Southern Grid was affected by the strike.

About 2.50 crore cheques worth about Rs 1,75,000 crore were reported to be held up for clearance due to strike, Venkatachalam claimed.

As part of four-day relay strike to press for wage hike, public sector bank employees will go on strike in northern region tomorrow.

However, private sector banks continued to function normally in six states and one Union Territory where PSBs' employees went on strike.

"Since the conciliation meeting with Indian Banks' Association failed to reach a conclusion yesterday, the strike was forced upon us," United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) Convener M V Murali told PTI. UFBU is the umbrella organisation of nine bank employees and officer unions.

Normal banking operations in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Delhi would be affected due to the strike. Some of the banks have already informed their customers about inconvenience due to the strike.

Subsequently, there would be strike on December 4 by the eastern zone, and on December 5 by the western zone.

This is the second strike by bank employees in less than 30 days. The last strike was on November 12.

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