Twenty one public sector banks, including State Bank of India (SBI) and IDBI Bank, are likely to see major disruption in operations today as bank unions go on a nation-wide strike to protest against government's move to 'privatise' public sector banks.
The call for strike was made by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions in the sector including All India Bank Officer's Confederation (AIBOC) and All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), after its meeting with the Chief Labour Commissioner AK Nayak regarding its several demands fell through.
Even though banks have not made any formal announcement related to the strike, there is a possibility that most public sector banks may remain closed today.
"No work will take place across public sector banks as they will remain locked," M S Jaishankar, president All India SBI Officers' Co-ord Committee, told Business Today.
Nearly 10 lakh bank employees will see participation in the strike that is against the government's move to privatise Public Sector Banks and plan to merge and consolidate them. The body's other demands include criminal action against wilful default of bank loans, implementing recommendations of parilamentary committee on recovery of NPAs, abolishing Banks Board Bureau, reimbursement of expenses incurred during the demonetisation and Jan Dhan campaigns, and removal of Gratuity Ceiling under Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.
Besides the above demands, the union also wants withdrawal of the proposed financial resolution and deposit insurance (FRDA) Bill , total exemption of gratuity and leave encashment on retirement. The body is also against passing the burden of corporate NPAs on bank customers by hiking charges.
The strike is expected to hit bank customers hard as despite digitization of banking services, a large number of customers are still dependent on manual bank operations.
The private sector banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank , however, will continue to function normally but delays in cheque clearance can be expected. The strike will be followed by a massive rally on September 15 by UFBU.