Bank strike: Services to be hit as 10 lakh employees join protest

14 Mar 2021

                           Bank strike: Services to be hit as 10 lakh employees join protest

NEW DELHI: Nine bank unions on Monday started a nationwide two-day strike against the privatization of public sector banks and retrograde banking reforms. As many as 10 lakh bank employees are expected to participate in the strike.
Banks were already closed on March 13 (second Saturday) and March 14 (Sunday), leading to a four-day break till Tuesday in regular banking operations.

Who is organizing the strike

The strike has been called by the United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions.
The unions participating in the strike are: All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers' Congress (INBOC) and National Organization of Bank Officers (NOBO) and the National Organization of Bank Workers (NOBW).

Apart from bank unions, all the unions in four General Insurance Companies will be on strike on March 17.
All the unions in LIC are on strike on March 18, while unions of four insurance companies have called for a strike against the privatization of public companies.

Bank services to be hit

Services such as deposits and withdrawal at branches, cheque clearance, and loan approvals would be affected due to the strike. However, ATMs are likely to remain functional.
Many public sector lenders, including the State Bank of India (SBI), have informed their customers that their normal working could be affected at the branches and offices if the strike materializes.

Banks have also informed that they are taking necessary steps for the smooth functioning of bank branches and offices.

Why are bank unions protesting

In the Union Budget presented last month, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the privatization of two public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the government's disinvestment plan to generate Rs 1.75 lakh crore.
The government has already privatized 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 Labor 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 C H Venkatachalam said.