Indian bank workers go on strike

New Delhi, October 27:

Banking operations across India were expected to be hit hard Friday with almost one million workers going on a one-day strike over privatisation and outsourcing, a report said.

An umbrella organization of bank workers’ unions announced the strike after talks with the government failed late Thursday, the news channel NDTV reported.

“If the government continues to adopt its ostrich-like policy and not come forward to resolve the issues by meaningful discussions, the agitation will be further intensified into more strike actions,” said C H Venkatachalam, a senior official of the United Forum of Bank Unions.

He said the strike was also aimed at pressing for more recruitment and better pensions for bnk employees.

Venkatachalam said the strike would particularly hit operations of India’s biggest bank, the State Bank of India, which has around 200,000 employees.

The union group said it opposed privatisation of state-owned banks, as well as outsourcing of services.

The central bank, the Reserve Bank of India, has said it would allow banks to outsource banking services to streamline payment methods that are currently a mix of electronic and antiquated paper-based systems.

The government earlier this year unveiled plans to allow foreign banks to set up wholly-owned units or to buy stakes in private domestic lenders.

Previously, foreign banks were only allowed to set up branches.