Guwahati/Agartala: Banking services in the northeastern states were badly affected for the second consecutive day on Saturday as most major banks remained closed due to a two-day countrywide strike by their employees.
A large number of ATMs were closed, causing inconvenience to the people. Government and foreign exchange transactions were also affected.
The striking employees held demonstrations in front of different bank branches in many cities across the region.
Besides nationalised banks, the staff of various regional rural banks also participated in the strike. Employees of state cooperative banks are not part of the strike.
Over 80,000 employees of nationalised banks in the eight northeastern states are taking part in the strike.
Leaders of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of nine employees' unions which had called for the two-day strike, claimed a very good response to the strike call in the eight northeastern states, including Assam and Sikkim.
UFBU leader Jawaharlal Dey said that the unions had already served a notice on the Indian Banks Association and the government about a proposed three-day shutdown from March 11 and then an indefinite strike from April 1.
The striking employees are protesting against "anti-people banking reforms" and also demanding a 20 per cent pay hike, five-day working week, and improvement in pension and family pension schemes.
Dey and other UFBU leaders said that the UFBU had been demanding the scrapping of the new pension scheme, equal wages for equal work for contract employees and business correspondents.
The banking employees have also been protesting against the outsourcing of non-core activities.
Tripura government officials and employees said that the strike taking place just before pay day, badly hit withdrawal of salaries by lakhs of staff.