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Why Old Weapon of Strike Needs To Be Discarded and New Weapon of Moral Pressurizing  Needs to Be Adopted




Kamlesh Chaturvedi


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Strike is recognised as most effective tool of the workers for creating pressure and forcing the management to accede demands of the workers. Experts of the trade union movement have advised that strike as a  tool must be sparingly used as last resort when other avenues and options have been exhausted. I see bank employees particularly young bank employees demanding that UFBU must give call for indefinite strike whereas UFBU has been giving call for Strike for one or two days. Its high time to think how effective weapon of Strike is in achieving the demands of workers particularly for service industry like banking industry? 

 Over a period of time, bank managements have learned to deal with our weapon of strike. Due to advancement and use of modern technology, strike has not remained as effective as it used to be years back. Use of ATM, internet banking, mobile banking etc have reduced its effectiveness. It affects on common people more severally than affluent business class of society. Salary of striking employees gets deducted under No Work No Pay rule. This reduces establishment cost of banks. When Strike ends and workers resume working, workload of strike days pile up on them and they have to complete the same. So a question must peep into our minds that what is the use of weapon of Strike which causes us monetary loss while doing and completing the work of striking days? Should not we think of new, unique and more effective tool to pressurise and achieve our demands.


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I wish to share my experience of using a new and unique tool which we have been using for the last 10 years at local level inspired by preaching of Mahatma Gandhi ji of giving pain to yourself to force wrong doers. This tool works like this:

 Serve Notice on IBA that from a particular day bank employees would work continuously and uninterruptedly without any break and without any food to pressurise for realisation of their demands.

 Thus, agitation starts from the day mentioned in the notice. In the evening after one hour of the end of working hours, family members of employees also assemble at branches stating that only bread earner of the family is forced to face conditions of starvation and they are here to take care of him. With Cash open and no day end, pressure starts building up. First management asks you to vacate the premises as it is trespass to occupy branch premises after working hours. Then police is called and employees exchange their views with police officials politely. Because it is an united and concerted action guaranteed under Constitution of India, police officials just request you to remain peaceful. You immediately attract the attention of people and media because it is something new and unique. As the time passes by, desired pressure is build up forcing management to enter into dialogues. 

 We may use this weapon. In the beginning this may be resorted at only one branch of several branches of the bank where employees of other branches would also assemble along with family member to form a big mob to attract maximum attention.

 Think of this tool and most effective weapon which would not cause you any monetary loss and which pressurises the management quickly in comparison to strike.   


Comments by ABS :  In the meeting held on 13th September 2014 at Jantar Mantar, Kamlesh ji has given a braod idea about what he has got in mind.   Here he has elaborated the idea and given his views as to why we need to think out of box as other party is already well equipped to blunt the weapon of strike.   There is a need to adopt tactics where general public is put to minimum inconvenience but ripples are felt in the city and media.  In each metro, UFBU may choose One to Three  branches of each bank  in each metro / state capital  for continuous work and staff members of other branches after closing their branches by 6.00 PM reach the nearest protesting branch.  Even family members of workers who are on hunger strike join in evenings.  Let this kind of protest be peaceful protest.  Explain the reasons for protest to customers and request them to join the same after the working hours.   Large customers who have good relations with staff may agree to join themselves or send their staff as a good will gesture in support of the demands.

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