Banking operations could see a delay with nearly nine lakh employees of state-run banks set to go on a two-day nationwide strike on Thursday.
The strike has been called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions, including the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW).
Soumya Datta, general secretary of AIBOC, confirmed that the union has decided to go ahead with the two-day nationwide strike. Employees and officers from various public sector banks (PSBs), old generation private sector banks and regional rural banks will participate in the strike.
State Bank of India (SBI) has already warned customers about the nationwide strike’s possible impact on banking operations such as cheque clearance and fund transfer.
Stating that the strike is not in the interest of customers and investors, SBI, Canara Bank and UCO Bank, among others, urged their employees to reconsider their decision to go on strike.
“Furthermore, considering the ongoing pandemic situation, resorting to a strike will cause great inconvenience to the stakeholders,” SBI said in a tweet.
Why are govt bank employees going on strike
The two-day nationwide strike was called by the UFBU after a conciliation meeting with the Additional Chief Labour Commissioner failed to yield any results on Wednesday.
The unions have been protesting ever since the Centre in its Budget 2021-22 announced its intent to privatise two public sector lenders.
CH Venkatachalam, general secretary of AIBEA, told news agency PTI that the conciliation meeting was attended by representatives of the unions, the Indian Banks’ Association and the Union Ministry of Finance.
“We reiterated our stand that if the government would assure that the Bank Privatisation Bill (Banking Laws Amendment Bill, 2021) would not be tabled during this session of the Parliament, we would be inclined to reconsider the strike but the government could not give any such assurance to us,” Venkatachalam said.
‘Privatisation will affect govt schemes’
Devidas Tuljapurkar, the convener of UFBU’s Maharashtra unit, was quoted as saying that privatisation of PSBs will lead to the closure of bank branches in rural and backward regions.
This will affect the implementation of all the government schemes meant for the welfare of socially and economically weaker sections of society.
Bank employees from sweepers to senior executives in scale 5 will observe the two-day nationwide strike and hold demonstrations, Tuljapurkar added.