BEFI Congratulates Bank Employees for Successful Strike
THE Bank Employees Federation of India in a statement issued on October 22, has congratulated the bank employees all over the country for making the all India bank strike on October 22, a huge success. The strike call against the merger of public sector banks and related issues was given jointly by the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA).
BEFI expressed gratitude to the All India Reserve Bank Employees’ Association, All India Regional Rural Bank Employees Association and organisations of officers, viz. AIBOA and AIBOC for extending fraternal support to the strike and also to the major Central Trade Unions, viz. CITU, AITUC, INTUC, HMS, AIUTUC, AICCTU, UTUC, LPF, SEWA, TUCC for their support to the strike. “We are overwhelmed at the fraternal support extended by the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). We have been immensely enthused and emboldened in our struggle at the support extended to us by the valued clientele in a number of centres,” the statement said.
Banking Industry of the county came to a halt on October 22, with more than three lakh employees going on strike to voice their opposition to the proposed merger of public sector banks, insensate writing off of bad loans, euphemistically called “non performing assets” (NPAs), steadily declining interest rates on time deposits, unjustified and indiscriminate recovery of penalties and various service charges by the banks from marginal depositors as also to press for their demands for effective measures for expeditious recovery of loans from wilful corporate defaulters and adequate recruitment in banks. On the strike day, bank gates remained closed, clearing houses remained inoperative, large number of employees as also retired ones picketed before bank gates from early morning raising slogans opposing the issues aforesaid; processions, mass meetings and rallies have been organised in metros and other important centres. Strike also impacted service through ATMs.
While regretting the inconveniences caused to the esteemed bank customers, BEFI assured them that their interest, as also the economic and financial interests of the country, have always remained and shall continue to ever remain their top-most priority. “Indeed, the strike today itself is an expression of our anxiety to save the nationalised banking sector from being privatised and being handed over to those very corporates who have looted lakhs of crores of rupees from our banks adding to their NPA portfolios, an expression of our anxiety for the senior citizens who are being slowly driven to penury by the central government’s policy of steadily declining interest rates on their savings, an expression of our anxiety for the unemployed youth who have been looking for a decent opening. We are worried at the closure of over two thousand branches of State Bank of India within a year after merger with its associates and Bharatiya Mahila Bank; we are worried at the report that hundreds of branches, declared to be situated in “close proximity”, have already been identified for closure within less than a year of merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda; we are worried for the customers who have been, or will be, forced to endure the inconveniences of shifting the site of their banking transactions because of insensate branch closures by banks following the process of mergers; in the interest of our valued customers, therefore, we are committed to fight against merger of public sector banks. And we assure our esteemed customers of our continued struggle for their interests till the government is compelled to change its obnoxious policy. We solicit your continued support for our struggle,” the statement said.