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Banking operations disrupted

By Our Special Correspondent

TIRUCHI, AUG. 24. Banking activities in the districts of Tiruchi, Pudukottai and Perambalur were totally disrupted today following the day-long strike of the officers and employees of the nationalised and private sector banks, demanding immediate industry-level wage revision, which was due since November 2002. They also condemned the delaying tactics of the Indian Banks' Association. The strike was called by the United Forum of Bank Unions.

In Tiruchi district over 2,000 officers and employees working in 150 branches of the nationalised banks and other private sector banks participated in the strike. The striking bankmen staged a demonstration in front of the State Bank of India, Chinthamani branch in the morning. The district general secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association, K. Kandasamy, led the agitation.

The district vice-president of the All-India Bank Officers' Confederation, S. Balasubramanyam, the deputy general secretary of the State Bank Staff Union, R. Asokan, the district president of the All India Bank Officers' Association, P. Annamalai, and the district secretary of the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), G. Balachandran, spoke, explaining their demands.

They said the unions had been negotiating with the IBA for the past nearly two years in the hope that it would come forward with reasonable response to the demands and conclude the settlement amicably. Not only the IBA has not been coming out with fair offers but rather it was putting conditions and pre-conditions. The IBA had been adamant and unreasonable and it was trying to delay the settlement to frustrate the bank men.

The last wage revision for bank employees took place with effect from November 1, 1997. It was already seven years now since the wages were revised. The unions had placed only reasonable demands. If IBA was not ready to expedite the settlement and on reasonable terms, the UFBU would further intensify the struggle, they warned.

Perambalur

The officers and employees of 64 branches of nationalised and private banks in the district participated in the one day strike called by the United Forum of Bank Unions.

Pudukottai

Over 600 officers and employees of various bank branches in the district participated in the strike today. A section of striking employees, by the district secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association, Rajendran, staged a demonstration in front of the Pudukottai town branch of the State Bank of India in the morning.

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