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Indian bank unions call for strike following demonetization issues

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Indian bank unions call for strike following demonetization issues

Banks staff and employee's unions in India have called for a strike as they seek a solution to issues resulting from the demonetization of large bank notes, as well as an effective means to recover bad loans, Business Standard reported Jan. 21.

Banking sector employees will hold a sit-in protest at Reserve Bank of India's offices Feb. 2, followed by a mass demonstration Feb. 7. The All India Bank Employees' Association, All India Bank Officers Association and Bank Employees Federation of India will take part in the strike.

Following the demonetization of 500 Indian-rupee-denominated and 1,000 rupee-denominated currency notes on the government's order, cash supply remains scarce, while most ATMs are either still not functioning or do not have cash to dispense, the AIBEA said.

While bank employees, officers and managers managed the demonetization bank notes, there is reluctance and hesitation to extend proper compensation and overtime for the extra hours of additional work done, said C.H. Venkatachalam, general secretary of the AIBEA.

The unions are also seeking action against big defaulters, demanding that the names of individuals who have defaulted in paying loans of 10 million rupees and above be published.

The other demands from the unions include ensuring the autonomy of the central bank in cash management, compensation to the families of the general public, bank customers and bank staff who lost their lives in the aftermath of the demonetization, as well as overtime pay to employees and officers for their additional work during the demonetization period.

As of Jan. 20, US$1 was equivalent to 68.06 Indian rupees.