Bank workers went on strike yesterday in protest at the Hellenic Bank Association’s decision to negotiate pay pacts with each individual bank’s union rather than collectively with the sector’s federation (OTOE). According to OTOE, the strike call received a strong response at National, Emporiki and ATE (the latter two being state-controlled) banks but participation was weaker in private banks. An OTOE delegation met with Economy Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, who said that the government cannot get involved in the issue. ‘The banking system is not under public control… If we intervened in collective bargaining, everyone would accuse us and quite rightly so,’ he said. OTOE said banks’ proposed changes are in contravention of Article 22 of the Greek Constitution, concerning contracts.