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Strike hits bank operations

By Our Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI, AUG. 24. Banking operations across the country were affected today as over 10 lakh employees of public sector banks went on a day-long strike in support of their demand for a wage revision. The striking bank unions have also threatened to go on a two-day strike if their demands are not conceded.

According to S. Bardhan, general secretary of the Bank Employees Federation of India, the strike was a success. The nine major bank unions participating in the strike said the losses due to the strike were to the tune of Rs. 500 crore.

While the automatic teller machines (ATMs) functioned normally, transactions across the table were disrupted. Private and rural banks did not take part in the strike. The call for the strike had been issued by the United Forum of Bank Unions demanding the expeditious conclusion of the bipartite discussion for revision in the wages and service conditions with effect from November 2002.

The earlier wage agreement expired on October 31, 2002 and since then several rounds of talks have taken places between the Indian Banking Association and the recognised unions. But no settlement could be arrived at. The central committee of the United Forum of Bank Unions will meet in Mumbai tomorrow to chalk out a strategy for the further course of action that includes a two-day strike in September or October. The unions that took part in the strike are AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW and NOBO.

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