Indian workers strike over outsourced payments services

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Indian workers strike over outsourced payments services

Tash Shifrin

Half a million bank workers staged a one-day strike across India last week in protest at plans to outsource cheque clearing and other payments services.

India’s IT services and business process industry is increasingly popular with UK and other international businesses looking to outsource, with revenues soaring by 37% to hit $6.3bn (£3.3bn) last year.

But bank staff in India have been angered by proposals to outsource their work – a move seen as privatisation where it affects state-owned banks.

The Reserve Bank of India, the country’s central bank, plans to let finance houses outsource services to a public-private firm in a move aimed at centralising and streamlining a payments system that in some places still relies on paper.

Government proposals to let foreign banks set up shop in India or buy stakes in existing domestic banks for the first time have also angered the bank workers.

The strike hit more than 50,000 of India's 65,000 bank branches, the All India Bank Employees Association said, although the State Bank of India, where employees are not members of the union, was unaffected.

 

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