Bank Services in Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu Badly Hit as Over 10 Lakh Employees Join Strike
New Delhi, August 22: Banking operations across the nation were disrupted on Tuesday as public sector bank employees went on a one-day nationwide strike to protest against the government’s proposed consolidation move, besides other demands. After talks with the government on proposed reforms failed, the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU) which met for a meeting on June 28 decided to launch an agitation on August 22 against reforms, mergers and our other issues. According to the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), when the country needs more banking services, the government is talking about consolidation, amalgamation and merger of Banks.
The nationwide protest has hit all the 42,000 branches of 21 public sector banks, including the monolithic State Bank Of India and IDBI, 18 old generation banks, eight foreign banks and 56 Regional Rural Banks in Mumbai and Maharashtra, said All Indian Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) leader Vishwas Utagi. AIBEA in its statement on Tuesday said that among the 17-point charter of union demands, the main relates to the government’s denial of adequate capital to public sector banks, thus creating conditions for privatisation.
The nationwide banking strike has brought normal life to a standstill. In Maharashtra, financial operations have been paralysed as nearly 1,50,000 bank employees have joined the strike. The country’s commercial capital has been hit majorly by the nationwide protest by bank unions. Nearly 10 lakh employees of public sector banks are a part of the nation-wide strike today which has been called by unions under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). Services that have been drastically hit include cheque clearing operations, financial transactions, and other routine daily banking functions. Reports state that ATMs may run out of cash by noon as there will be no replenishment.
As lakhs of bank employees joined the protest, banking services in the national capital region (NCR) were affected on Tuesday. The AIBEA said that the privatisation of banks means privatising the Rs 80 lakh crore of common people’s money available in our banks. “This is dangerous for the country and our people. Privatisation of banks will result in denial of loans to priority sectors like agriculture, rural development and education,” AIBEA added.
As per details by a top All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) leader, banking operations in Tamil Nadu were paralysed with around 55,000 bankers striking work pressing for their demands. Around 12 lakh financial instruments valued around Rs 7,300 crore could not be cleared because of the strike. “It is a dawn-to-dusk strike as cheque clearing operations start at 6 am, Bankers working in around 10,300 branches struck work protesting the policies towards the sector,” CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA told IANS.
Venkatachalam further informed that the strike affected in a big way. He said normally in the three clearing grids functioning from South, West and North- Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi- on an average about 40 lac cheques and instruments worth about Rs 20,000 crore are transacted per day. Vice President of the National Organization of Bank Workers, Ashwani Rana on Monday had said the government should take responsibility of any inconvenience caused to customers due to the non-operation of banks on account of the strike.