Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2 days nationwide continuous general strike

 In support of the 10 point Charter of Demands
On the call given by United Forum of Bank Unions, officers and employees in all the public sector banks are observing 2 days nationwide continuous general strike on 20th & 21st Feb. 2013 alongwith Central trade unions in our country to protest against the Central Government’s anti-people, anti-labour and the pro-corporate neo-liberal economic policies on the following demands:-

• In support of the 10 point Charter of Demands of Central Trade Unions.
• Control alarming price rise
• Stop anti-labour policies and Hands off trade union rights
• Stop Banking Reforms
• Stop Outsourcing
• Early wage revision
• Settle pending issues like compassionate appointment scheme                                   

United Forum of Bank Unions hold a massive rally in front of Canara Bank, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Ludhiana.  Com. Sudesh Kumar, Chairman, Punjab Bank Employees Federation,  Com. Naresh Gaur, Convener, United Forum of Bank Unions, Com. Ashok Awasthy (PBEF), Com. Gulshan Chauhan, Com. Rakesh Khanna, Com. Baljinder Singh, Com. J.P.Kalra (All India Bank Officers’ Confederation), Com. D.C.Landra (NCBE),   Com. K.S.Sandhu, Com. Gurbachan Singh (AIBOA) and Com. D.P.Maur General Secretary, Joint Council of Trade Unions addressed the bank employees.

While addressing the bank employees, leaders of the United Forum said that the historic unity of the trade unions on the same platform has opened up new possibility of developing resistance against the attack unleashed by Government and the corporate. The sky high inflation of food prices and stagnation of the economy are the characteristics of the crisis that has engulfed the nation. The Government has no policy to curb the price and contain the recession of the economy, mitigate poverty and job loss. In the race to implement banking reforms, there is grim all around politically and economically. The Government has no policy to face the challenge. It seeks to throw all the burden of the crisis on the common people. Turning its back to the national interest, the government is initiating steps one after another which is inflaming inflation and accentuating economic stagnation. The Government is recklessly increasing the price of all the commodities that is so urgently necessary for daily life. It is not the organized workers in the industrial sector who are grossly affected; it is the contract workers, informal and casual labour which is the worst victim. While the industrial workers who are organized are sure to be denied of the legitimate rights, increase in bonus and wages, the unorganized sector will be more rudely affected through job loss, wage cut and on payment of  minimum wage and denial of statutory dues.   

Banking sector is no exception. Attempts are on to reduce and dilute the Government’s equity capital in Public Sector Banks. Attempts are equally on to boost private capital in the equity of our PSBs. For public sector banks, the Government talks of mergers and consolidation to shrink the scope of social banking. But in the same breath, the Government wants to encourage and expand private sector banking. New Licenses are sought to be given to industrial houses to start their own private Banks. This is the double standard of the Government. Banking Laws are amended to convert bad loans of corporate houses as investments in the equity capital of the very same defaulters. Huge loans are being written off to favour the rich borrowers. Rural branches are sought to be closed down and rural banking is being given to private outsourced Business Correspondents. Priority Sector loan targets are not being reached by many Banks. Corporate loans are increasing. Banks are appearing to draft from the goals and objectives of bank nationalization. In one word, the clock is sought to be reversed. 

Banking industry is one of the potential employment generating agencies in our country. But in the last 20 years, recruitments were virtually banned and after our struggle, some recruitments are taking place recently. But this is totally inadequate. Bank’s business has increased manifold. More and more services have been undertaken but matching recruitments are not taking place. In the next few years, large scale retirements will take place and hence further recruitment is needed. But  Banks  are trying to outsource the regular and permanent jobs to contract employees. This will reduce the scope for permanent jobs and affect the job security. This will also result in exploitation of unemployed youth. We oppose outsourcing of permanent jobs and demanding adequate recruitments and revival of BSRBs for recruitment of bank staff.  

Various important issues raised by UFBU still remain unresolved such as issues like compassionate appointment, revised housing loan scheme to bank employees, improvements in pension scheme, proper implementation of settlement, denial of pension option to persons opted under VRS and those resigned their jobs for want of VRS, defined and regulated working hours, 5 day banking etc; which are pending for resolution for a long time.  
Leaders of the United Forum further said that “Hit out those who have hit the people”. Mount counter-offensive to stall the atrocity of the Government. It is the right moment to make a mass intervention. Indignation against the government is brewing. The spontaneous outburst of anger is taking place everywhere. The people boiling in the fire of inflation came on the roads to paralyze the government and all its apparatus to demonstrate the strength of the masses opposed to the government policies. The country came to a halt. Working class people  withdrew from all the work places. Banking industry came to a grinding halt. The government must be paralyzed. This is the only way to resist the aggression of the Government and win the demands for the benefit of the people. The strength of unity that provides an opportunity must be utilized to covert the crisis into a new wave of resistance.

--Naresh Gaur   2 days nationwide continuous general strike 

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