Services of PSBs hit in Bengal as bank unions go on strike to protest against privatisation

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Kolkata, Mar 15 (PTI) Banking operations were severely hit in West Bengal on Monday as officers and employees of public sector lenders went on a strike to protest against the proposed privatisation of two state-owned banks.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions, had given a nationwide strike call for March 15 and 16, and claimed that about 10 lakh employees and officers of the lenders will participate in the ceasework.

'We have got a tremendous response. Our strike call has also been supported by the National Confederation of Officers Association, farmers, CITU and AITUC,' All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) joint general secretary Sanjoy Das said.

There are around 6,000 branches of public, private and foreign banks in West Bengal, he said.

'Most of the bank branches in the state are closed due to the strike. ATMs are not functioning except those located at hospitals, railway stations and airports,' Das said.

However, branches of private sector lenders like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank are open as they are not part of the strike.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had in the budget announced the privatisation of two public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the government's disinvestment plan.

The government has merged 14 public sector banks in the last four years. PTI DC BDC BDC