Nationwide strike impacts banking services of PSU banks

New Delhi, Mar 15 :Banking operations including cheque clearance across the country got affected on Monday as bankers under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) have gone on a nationwide strike to protest against the proposed privatisation of two state-owned lenders

UFBU, an umbrella body of nine unions, had given a strike call for March 15 and 16, and claimed that about 10 lakh bank employees and officers of the banks will participate in the strike

However, branches of private sector lenders like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank are open as they are not part of the strike

In the Union Budget presented last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the privatisation of two public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the government's disinvestment plan

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

According to All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam, services at branch level; cheque clearance; and government transactions have been affected

Besides, money markets and stock markets are also going to face problems as payments would be impacted, he said

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 the 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).

Nation-Wide Bank Strike Tomorrow to Protest ‘Anti-Labour Policies’

The All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) would be joining the one-day nationwide strike on November 26 called by central trade unions to protest against the government’s anti-labour policies.

According to reports, the day long nationwide will be observed by ten central trade unions, except Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.

The AIBEA in a release said, “Lok Sabha in its recently held session has passed three new labour enactments by dismantling existing 27 enactments in the name of ‘Ease of Business’, which are purely in the interest of corporates. In the process, 75 percent of workers are being pushed out of the orbits of labour laws since they will have no legal protection under the new enactment.”

The main demands on the strike, in solidarity with the farmers’ protests, have been outlined as:

1. Cash transfer of Rs. 7500 per month for all non-income tax-paying families

2. 10 kilos of free ration per person per month to all needy

3. Expansion of MGNREGA to provide 200 days’ work in a year in rural areas at enhanced wages and the extension of employment guarantee to urban areas

4. Withdraw all anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes

5. Stop privatisation of the public sector including the financial sector and stop corporatisation of Govt run manufacturing and service entities like Railways, Ordnance Factories, Ports, etc

6. Withdraw the draconian circular on forced premature retirement of Government and PSU Employees

7. Provide Pension to all, scrap NPS and restore earlier Pension, improve EPS-95

The 26 November strike will not affect digital transactions and users can still conduct transactions through NetBanking or Mobile Banking.