Banking operations were affected on the first day of the strike of public sector banks in protest against the proposal of privatization of two more public sector banks. The strike affected cash withdrawals, deposits, check clearing and business transactions in public sector banks.
The strike called on March 15 and 16 by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an organization of nine unions. The union claims that 10 lakh bank employees and officials will join the strike. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the privatization of two public sector banks under the government’s disinvestment plan in the general budget presented last month.
All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOC) General Secretary Soumya Dutta said that the policies of the government will have an adverse effect on the economy. The result of this will also be seen in the results of the upcoming state assembly elections. He said that all the employees of the banks, except some top level employees, have joined this two-day strike. Datta said that all the banking services like cash withdrawal, deposits, transactions, loan processing, check clearing have been affected by the strike. He said that striking employees took out rallies all over the country where permission was given. Apart from this, they sat on the dharna. Dutta said that if the government did not listen to our words, then we can take even bigger steps. This step can be an indefinite strike like the peasant movement.
Privatization of banks
Datta said that through our branches we are connected to crores of people. We are making people aware of the wrong policies of the government, how they will be affected by them. He said that through the Financial Services Department, the bank unions have asked the Finance Minister to withdraw his statement about the privatization of public sector banks in Parliament.
Up to 90 percent effect
A bank official said that 100 percent employees of the first, second and third scale participated in the strike. The officer said, “We call them assistant managers, managers or senior managers. 100 percent of the employees at this level participated in the strike. The chief officers of 80 to 90 percent bank branches are the same. ”The official said that the number of large branches led by officers of the level of Chief Manager or Assistant General Manager is 20 percent. Even if these senior officers are not involved in this strike, they cannot operate the branch alone. Meanwhile, normal functioning took place in branches of private sector banks ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Banks.
Hence the strike
The government has already privatized IDBI Bank. In 2019, majority stake of IDBI was sold to LIC. In the last four years, the government has merged 14 public banks with another government bank. All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam said that the strike affected banking services at the branch level.