29 July, New Delhi
Services at around 80,000 bank branches in the country are hit Friday as employees of public sector banks are on a one-day strike to protest proposed merger of SBI’s associate banks with SBI and banking reforms announced by the government.
However, private sector banks are working as usual. Most of the public sector banks including SBI had earlier informed their customers of inconvenience if strike materialises. The United Forum of Banks Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of nine bank employees and officers unions representing 8 lakh staffers, has gone ahead with the strike.
Bank Unions are protesting against FDI in the banking sector, privatisation of public sector banks, consolidation and merger of banks. According to All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary C H Venkatachalam, the conciliation meeting with the Chief Labour Commissioner on 26th of this month did not yield any positive results.
Banking operations in Punjab are also hit as private and nationalised banks struck work today. According to the banking association representative, all banks are closed and in Jalandhar employees have gathered at central bank to protest against the merger of five associate banks of the State Bank of India with the parent and the privatization of IDBI bank. Around 10 lakh bank employees are participating in this nation wide strike.
In Mumbai, employees of eight foreign banks, 18 private and 27 public sector banks are participating in the strike. Normal banking operations like clearing, cash and cheque deposits and other transactions were affected today, but people can heave a sigh of relief as the banks would work as usual tomorrow.
The Vice President of All India Bank Employees Association and General Secretary of Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation Mr. Vishwas Utagi informed that thousands of bank officers and other employees assembled at Mumbai’s Azad Maidan in support of the strike.