Bank Union Threatens to go on Strike if FRDI Bill Not Amended
New Delhi, August 23: The nationwide bank strike which was called by the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU) saw major participation from across the nation. Banking operations on Tuesday were disrupted as public sector bank employees protested against the government’s proposed consolidation move among other demands. Nearly 10 lakh employees and officers of public sector banks across 10,300 branches in the country had participated in the nationwide strike. The Bank Unions have now planned to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi so that they can put forth their demands and apprise the Prime Minister of the current situation.
CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA (All India Banks’ Employees Association) was quoted by Moneycontrol saying, “We were happy to see more young officers also participate in the protest and that helped us put forth the message. The present political culture has ignored the bank unions’ views but there will be a long term confrontation on the same. We plan to meet the Prime Minister Modi post the September 15 morcha to put forth our points.”
On Tuesday, many states in India came to a standstill as banking transactions were severely hit. The protest across the nation affected cheque-clearing activity, financial, cash transactions and other routine daily banking services. ATMs that were operational ran out of cash as there were no replenishments. Reports stated that private lenders like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank functioned normally.
States like Maharashtra, Delhi, Tamil Nadu felt the heat of the protest as no transactions took place due to the strike. About 55,000 bankers joined the strike from Tamil Nadu, over 42,000 bank employees and officers were from Maharashtra while several thousand bank employees staged a rally at Azad Maidan in Mumbai which was addressed by leaders of UFBU and its nine affiliated unions. AIBEA leader Vishwas Utagi informed that the nationwide strike hit around 42,000 branches of 22 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.
The strike comes after the talks between UFBU on one side and Indian Banks’ Association, Chief Labour Commissioner and Department of Financial Services (DFS) failed on Friday. As per PTI reports, UFBU Convenor Devidas Tuljapurkar said the bank staffers will now join a march to Parliament on September 15, followed by another two days’ strike in late October-early November. The UFBU had met on June 28 decided to launch an agitation on August 22 against reforms, mergers and our other issues after talks with the government on proposed reforms failed. 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.