Bank unions decide to join national strike on Sep 2

    Vadodara, Aug 18 (PTI) Nearly 5 lakh bank union workersand officers are set to join the strike called by trade unionson September 2 to protest against what they call anti-peoplepolicies of the Modi government and labour reforms. "There have been increasing attacks in the bankingindustry and the government has been taking steps which areanti-people. It’s attempting to privatise state-run banksand merge associate banks with State Bank of India. It is alsolooting the public money in the name of bad loans," All-IndiaBank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C HVenkatchalam said here today. "To protest against all these, we will be joining thenational strike called by other labour unions on September 2." On March 30, all central trade unions such as INTUC,AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, UTUC and LPF hadgiven a one-day national general strike call on September 2 toprotest against the Modi government’s "unilateral labourreforms and anti-worker policies". The RSS-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has, however,decided to keep away. Last year too, the unions had gone on strike on September2 to oppose the amendments in labour laws by the Centre aswell as states, saying their 12-point charter of demands hadnot been met. The unions have been opposing certain proposed labour lawamendments that allow hire and fire, make it tougher to formlabour unions and dilute existing social security available toworkers at different fora. Under the proposed Industrial Relations Code Bill 2015,companies with up to 300 headcount need not get governmentnod for retrenchment, lay off and closure. The government isalso working on a Small Factories Bill that seeks to exemptunits with under 40 workers from 14 labour laws. These 10 unions claim a combined membership of 15 croreworkers in public and private sector enterprises, includingbanks and insurance companies. On the massive rise in bad loans, which have touchedthe Rs 13 trillion mark, he alleged that instead of takingtough measures to book culprits and recover the money, moreand more concessions are being given to defaulters. He did notelaborate. He went on to say that "in the name of cleaning the bankbalancesheets, these bad loans are being taken out of publicglare so that they could be silently written off". Making the point that while regional rural banks are beingprivatised and a central law has already been passed, he saidprimary agricultural co-operative societies are under thethreat of closure and urban co-operative banks facedelicensing. PTI CORR BEN GKARDRDS

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