Nationalised Banks Observe Strike On March 15th & 16th; New Generation Banks Will Function Normally

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Bank Strike Date: In a move that could affect banking services in the country, nearly 10 lakh employees of public sector banks and old generation private banks will go on strike on March 15 and 16 against the central government’s decision to privatise public sector banks.

Why are bank employees striking?

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting the Union Budget in February this year, had announced the privatisation of public sector banks as part of the government’s disinvestment drive to generate Rs 1.75 lakh crore. Other than IDBI Bank, the government proposes to take up the privatisation of two PSU banks and one general insurance company in the year 2021-22. United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions, has called for a nationwide strike on March 15 and 16 against this decision.

Will banking services get hit?

Ahead of the strike on March 15 and 16, banks are scheduled to be closed on March 13 — second Saturday — and March 14, Sunday. In short, banking services are likely to be impacted for four days. However, ATMs are likely to be functional during these four days.

Cheque clearances, opening of new accounts, issue of demand drafts and loan processing are likely to be impacted till March 17. State Bank of India said the bank has made arrangements for normal functioning in all branches and offices, but it added that the work may be impacted by the strike.

Are private bank employees also on strike?

Services of new generation private banks like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank and IndusInd Bank are expected to function normally. However, they account for only around one third of banking services.

Have there been any talks between the government and unions?

The All lndia Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) said Additional Chief Labour Commissioner SC Joshi held conciliation meetings on March 4, 9 and 10 between the government and the unions. “From unions, we offered to reconsider the strike if the government will agree to reconsider their decision to privatise the banks. The Finance Ministry representative could not give any such commitment. The conciliation meeting did not yield any positive result. Hence, it has been decided to go ahead with the strike for two continuous days on March 15 and 16,” AIBEA said.