Agartala/Guwahati, Dec 20 (IANS) A nationwide strike of bank employees severely hit banking services in the northeastern region Thursday.
Most of the public sector banks were closed as employees responded to a call to protest against the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, and merger plans of banks.
Over 10,000 bank employees of over 2,000 branches of nationalised banks in the seven northweastern states took part in the one-day strike, said Bank Employees Federation of India general secretary Nikhil Das.
"The proposed reforms in the banking sector are expected to be undertaken aiming at mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing of routine activities of Indian banks and allow foreign banks and investors in these activities and banking managements," he said.
Four bank employee unions -- All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA) and National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) -- called the strike after a conciliatory meeting between Indian Banks' Association and the chief labour commissioner in New Delhi failed.
"The strike is not for interests of bank employees alone. The shutdown is to protest anti-national policies of the central government and protect Indian banks from foreign controls," Das said at a sit-in demonstration here.
The employees have also been protesting outsourcing of non-core activities.
The Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha Tuesday and is set be taken up for debate and voting in the Rajya Sabha Thursday.