Kolkata: West Bengal witnessed a near cent per cent two-day strike in the banking sector with employees and officers coming out on the streets to protest against privatisation.
The strike got support from various kinds of banks, including nationalised banks, private sector banks, cooperative banks, rural and even some foreign banks. The strike call was given by United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella of nine banking unions. It drew support from all central trade unions as well as the All Indian Kisan Sabha.
Over 45,000 officers and employees participated in the strike spanning two days in the state, according to union sources.
Overall, about 10 lakh employees participated in countrywide strike, Jaideb Dasgupta, general secretary of Bank Employees Federation of India, West Bengal, told NewsClick.
Dasgupta said money was being laundered by the Central government in the name of reforms which should stop immediately. He said if the Centre goes ahead with their proposal to privatise public sector banks, then the strike “might take a shape like the farm stir”.
On Monday, the strike began with a big rally held in BBD Bagh traffic Island in the heart of the city near Esplanade. Another rally was held before State Bank of India’s head office in Kolkata where Hannan Mollah, AIKS general secretary, addressed the gathering. As part of the strike, there was picketing before the main entrance of the bank branches across the state.
Reserve Bank and NABARD employees expressed solidarity with the striking bank employees, as did the National Confederation of Officers Association.
The striking bank employees also pledged their support to insurance and LIC employees who will go on strike from Wednesday.