Banking services impacted across Maharashtra on first day of strike

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Mumbai, Mar 15 (PTI) Banking services, including cash withdrawals, cheque clearances and other business related transactions, were affected across Maharashtra on Monday on the first day of the two-day nationwide bank strike, union leaders said.

In the state alone, close to 50,000 bank employees belonging to 10,000 branches of various public sector banks, old generation private sector and foreign banks observed the strike to protest against the government's decision to privatise two more state-run lenders. Last month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced privatisation of two public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the government's disinvestment plan in the Union Budget for the next fiscal.

The nationwide strike has been called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions. It has claimed that about 10 lakh bank employees and officers are participating in the strike.

According to UFBU's Maharashtra Convenor Devidas Tuljapurkar, cheque clearances and cash transactions were largely impacted in the state. Also, many ATMs went dry by noon in major areas.

Unions claimed that close to 86 lakh cheques/ instruments worth Rs 6,500 crore were held up for clearances in the state. Many state-run banks urged their customers to use their digital channels like internet and mobile banking for making transactions. Members of UFBU include All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA) and Bank Employees Confederation of India (BEFI). Others are Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC), National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) and National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO). PTI HV ABM ABM