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Bank strike tomorrow, normal services may get affected

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Operations in public sector banks may be hit tomorrow as employee unions will observe a day-long strike opposing outsourcing of non-core activities to the private sector among other things.

The strike by bank employees is a part of the one-day all-India general strike, called by major central trade unions. Seven insurance unions, representing public sector life and general insurance sectors, have also extended support to the strike call.

However, large private sector lenders like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank and foreign banks are expected to function normally. Private sector insurance companies will also not participate in the strike.

"Seven out of nine bank unions have given a strike call demanding enactment of stringent and effective measures to recover bad loans and opposing unilateral imposition of Khandelwal Committee recommendations," All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary CH Venkatachalam said.

The unions are also opposing banking sector reforms and outsourcing of jobs, he said. About 8,00,000 employees and officers affiliated with these unions will participate in the strike, he claimed.

There are about 87,000 branches of public sector banks across the country. The state-owned lenders control about 75% of banking business. Employees of the country's largest bank SBI will also participate in the strike.

"All-India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) have given a notice calling for all India on February 28, 2012 on certain demands," the SBI statement said.

Corporation Bank, State Bank of Mysore, Bank of Maharashtra and others have also issued similar statements saying "if strike materialises normal functioning may get affected".

The central government-appointed Khandelwal panel had suggested a slew of measures, including outsourcing more non-core activities in a time-bound manner.

The panel had also recommended raising the standard of recruitment, including the methodology and content for tests, besides making the testing of computer skills mandatory for both officers and clerks.

The Khandelwal Committee on Human Resources (HR) had also suggested that the minimum qualification for clerks and sub-staff should be graduation and class 10, respectively.

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