Bank, LIC customers caught unawares by trade union strike

The strike has been called in protest against “policies encouraging contract work and destroying job security”

By Animesh Bisoee in Jamshedpur
  • Published 9.01.19, 12:28 AM
  • Updated 9.01.19, 12:28 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Strike force: Trade union members protest in front of the Bistupur branch of Bank of India in Jamshedpur on Tuesday Picture by Bhola Prasad

Day One of the nationwide strike being sponsored by various central trade unions against the Union government’s anti-worker policies and privatisation of PSUs paralysed banking, insurance and postal services in the city.

More than 250 branches of different nationalised banks remained closed on Tuesday, affecting check clearance and money transfer. Even the 27 branches of SBI and other private banks, which were opened in the morning, had to be closed by afternoon following picketing by members of trade unions. ATMs remained the lifeline.

All the 19 branches of Life Insurance Corporation under Jamshedpur division along with the divisional office in Bistupur stayed shut as did 52 post offices, largely inconveniencing people. Only the postal superintendent’s office in Golmuri functioned normally.

Ranjeet Kumar Samantaray, a Tata Steel employee and resident of Kadma, complained that he was “not aware of bank closure”, as he had missed reading the day’s paper.

Medical and sales representatives demonstrate at Randhir Verma Chowk in Dhanbad
Medical and sales representatives demonstrate at Randhir Verma Chowk in Dhanbad Picture by Gautam Dey

“I went to Bistupur to deposit money in the account of my son who studies in a private college in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. I was greeted with graffiti on the wall. Since my son needs to deposit his tuition fee by Wednesday, I requested a neighbour to transfer the amount through netbanking. I withdrew cash from an ATM and paid him back,” the hassled father said.

Shiv Kumar Singh, a retired Tata Steel employee and resident of Adityapur in neighbouring Seraikela-Kharsawan district, visited the Bistupur main branch of LIC in the morning only to return disappointed.

“I hired an auto-rickshaw and came all the way to redeem an insurance amount. The office was closed and I will have to come back on Thursday. Such strikes are very inconvenient for elderly people like me or those with hindered mobility,” he rued.

Moloy Banerjee, a clerk at a Kadma school, was also caught unawares. “I knew banks would be closed, but wasn’t aware that post offices would be shut too. I went to Bistupur GPO for withdrawing my MIS (monthly income scheme) money. Unfortunately, I was turned away and will have to go back on Thursday,” he said.

The strike, which has been called in protest against “policies encouraging contract work and destroying job security”, oddly didn’t have a strong impact on the industrial sector.

“Almost all the industrial units in Adityapur functioned as usual. Only a handful of them, maybe four, reported work being hampered,” said general secretary of Adityapur Small Industries Association Santosh Khetan.