Banking operations across the country may suffer on Monday and Tuesday as the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has called a nationwide strike to protest against the proposed privatisation of two state-owned lenders. The four-day strike (March 13-16) comes about a month after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Union Budget, announced the privatisation of two public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the government’s disinvestment plan.
Here’s how citizens might face trouble in completing bank-related work over the next two days.
– Services such as deposits and withdrawal at branches, opening of new accounts, cheque clearance and loan approvals could be affected due to the strike.
However, ATMs may continue to function normally.
– UFBU, an umbrella body of nine unions, in a statement, said about 10 lakh bank employees and officers of the banks will take part in the strike.
– Many public sector lenders, including State Bank of India (SBI), have informed their customers that their normal working could be affected at branches and offices if the strike materialises. SBI has, however, said it has made arrangements for normal functioning at all its branches and offices.
– Banks have also informed that they are taking necessary steps for the smooth functioning of bank branches and offices.
WHY ARE BANK UNIONS PROTESTING?
The government has already privatised IDBI Bank by selling its majority stake in the lender to LIC in 2019 and has merged 14 public sector banks in the last four years. Conciliation meetings – before the Additional Chief Labour Commissioner on March 4, 9 and 10 – did not yield any positive result, so the strike stands, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam said.
WHO ALL ARE ON STRIKE?
Members of UFBU include All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) and Bank Employees Confederation of India (BEFI). Others are Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC), National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) and National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO).
WHAT ABOUT PRIVATE BANKS?
Services of private banks like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank and IndusInd Bank that account for about one-third of banking services are expected to remain normal.