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Saturday, November 21, 2015
India's central bank employees strike over pensions
Most of the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) 17,000 employees went on strike on Thursday in what the central bank described as "mass casual leave".
The walk out resulted in "some interruptions" to clearing and settlement operations at the central bank, but it said that its systems were largely operational.
Four unions had called for the strike to demand better pension benefits.
It was also against reforms that would reduce the RBI's regulatory powers.
The central bank has been in debate over its policy independence with the government, which has been trying to assert more influence over the RBI's interest rate setting process.
The government wants to create a rate-setting board with its appointed members to vote on such decisions.
The RBI has cut interest rates four times this year, with the latest move in September to boost growth as inflation hit a record low on tumbling commodity prices.
Union leaders said the dispute over retirement benefits showed that the bank was losing its independence, because it used raise pensions without approval from the government.
Workers want their pensions to be increased to reflect rising costs and payments to former employees raised by $75 (£49) a month so that they can afford healthcare.
The unions have warned of longer strikes in the near future if the central bank does not meet its demands.
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