(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 16, 200
Public Sector Bank Employees’
All India Strike Successful
THE two-day all India bank strike on August 06-07, 2009, called by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) – the joint platform of nine organisations of workmen and officers of banks – was a huge success with all banking operations in the public sector banks coming to a grinding halt. The banking operations remained paralysed for two consecutive days. On these two days, large number of employees gathered and picketed before their respective banks shouting slogans and holding rallies.
The strike in the banking industry has been forced upon the employees by the adamant attitude of the Indian Banks Association (IBA) – aided, abetted and encouraged by the central government – in resolving the just and reasonable demands of bank employees and officers who have, for almost two years, been holding patience and earnestly pursuing all conceivable means for peaceful and amicable solution to their problems. The BEFI leader felt that such patience and earnestness were misconstrued by the central government-IBA combine as weakness, forcing the UFBU to call for this two day strike. Among the major demands of the bank employees were (i) revision of wage-structure which has been pending since November 1, 2007 (ii) extending an opportunity to the employees and officers presently covered under the Contributory Provident Fund (CPF) to opt for pension in lieu of CPF on which some broad understanding has already been arrived at through a series of negotiations over the last two years (iii) introduction of the Scheme for Compassionate Appointment/Financial Assistance to the next of kin of employees dying in harness as has already been agreed upon between IBA and UFBU.
The employees of Reserve Bank of India as also of the insurance sector extended fraternal support to the bank employees strike and conducted solidarity action programmes, including a one day strike on August 6, 2009 in RBI, Kolkata. The BEFI leader stated that the bank ermployees are emboldened by this show of support and solidarity.
Basudeb Acharia (CPI-M), Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI), Mulayam Singh Yadav (SP), Sharad Yadav (JD-U) and Sushma Swaraj (BJP) were among those who took up the cause of the bank employees in the Lok Sabha during the strike. Tapan Sen (CPI-M) raised the issue in Rajya Sabha and was joined by R C Singh (CPI), Ram Chandra Khuntia (Congress), Rudra Narayan Pany (BJP) and others demanding immediate intervention of the central government to solve the problems of bank employees.
Compelled by the pressure created by the two day strike, the central government intervened and the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) convened a meeting of IBA with union representatives on August 8, 2009. In the said meeting IBA gave some proposals on which the UFBU demanded immediate resumption of bilateral negotiations to arrive at an early and acceptable solution, stated the BEFI leader.
While hoping for positive developments in the best interests of all concerned, the BEFI has called upon the bank employees’ fraternity to remain prepared for any eventuality, including further intensified action should the situation so warrant.