Two days nationwide Bank strike

Rabia Shireen

Nationwide bank strike
The United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU) has called for a two-day nationwide strike on March 15 and 16, protesting against Public sector banks’ privatization and retrograde banking reforms. Around 10 lakh bank officers and employees are going to participate in the strike. news agency ANI reports.

Privatization of 2 PSBs
After the reconciliation meeting, the strike had been called between the bank unions and the Union Finance Ministry on March 4, 9, and 10 failed. The bank unions have been asking the government to reconsider its decision to privatize the government banks, which may also lead to job losses.

In the last month’s Union Budget presentation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the privatization of two public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the disinvestment plan. IDBI Bank had already been privatized by The government, selling its major stake in 2019 in the lender to LIC, and has merged 14 public sector banks in the last four years.

Will banking services be affected?
The banks were already closed on March 13 (second Saturday) and March 14 (Sunday), leading to a four-day break in regular banking operations. Services such as withdrawal and deposits at branches, cheque clearance, and loan approvals would be affected due to the strike. However, ATMs are likely to remain functional. The forum called for a nationwide strike to protest against the proposed privatization of two state-owned lenders.

SBI banking services probably to be hit
Many other banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI), Canara Bank have informed their customers that their regular working services may be impacted at the offices and branches due to the strike. Banks have also notified that they are taking necessary steps for the smooth functioning of bank branches and offices.

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

Banks taking part in the strike?
All the nine banks unions – 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 Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO) and the National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) will take part in the strike called by the UFBU.

UFBU is an umbrella body of nine unions; it had given a strike call for March 15 and 16 and said that about 10 lakh bank employees and officers of the banks would participate in the strike.

Private sector banks’ services
While the functioning of PSBs are affected, services at private banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and IndusInd Bank remain unaffected by the strike. Private banks fear that their operations may be impacted of striking the union’s push for closure at some of their branches.

By Rabia Shireen

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