Banking services are likely to be hit on Tuesday (October 22) as two bank unions have called for a 24-hour strike . The strike is called by All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) and the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI). The unions are protesting against recent bank mergers, falling deposit rates and job security in the banking sector.
The employees of Reserve Bank of India and State Bank of India, however, may not participate in the strike, PTI reported, adding that regional rural banks and cooperatives banks will also not take part in the strike. As per the employee unions, closure of ATMs is also under the strike ambit.
Bank of Maharashtra, Syndicate Bank, Bank of Baroda have already said their operations could be hit due to the strike. "This is to inform that All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) have given a call for one day strike on 22.10.2019 in support of their various demands and issues. The above strike is at the industry level and not at bank-level issue," Bank of Maharashtra told the stock exchanges.
Bank of Baroda said: "In the event, the strike materialises, the functioning of the branches may be affected or paralysed." With around 9,500 branches all over India, BoB is India's third-largest bank after State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank.
Bank Employees Federation of India (State Federation) General Secretary Joydeb Dasgupta said they were expecting "good response from all PSU and private banks".
SBI had earlier said the impact of the strike on its operations would be minimum as most of its employees were not members of the participating unions. "The membership of our bank employees in unions participating in the strike is very few, so the impact of the strike on bank's operation will be minimal," SBI told the stock exchanges.
A SBI union leader said they were not participating in the strike and operations would be normal. Dasgupta said SBI employees have offered moral support to the strike, adding "it would have been good if SBI joined the strike".
The bank unions are also protesting for banking reforms, recovery of bad loans, and action against defaulters. Their other demands include no harassment of customers with penal charges, no hike in service charges and an increase in deposit rates.
On August 30, the central government announced a mega plan to merge 10 public sector banks into four as part of plans to create fewer and stronger global-sized lenders as the government looked to boost economic growth from a five-year low. The four mergers were PNB (Punjab National Bank) with smaller peers Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India to create the nation's second-largest lender, Syndicate Bank merger with Canara Bank, Union Bank of India with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank, and Indian Bank with Allahabad Bank.
Edited by Manoj Sharma