Banking services are likely to be impacted on Monday, March 15 and 16 as the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has given a call for a two-day nationwide strike. The strike has been called to protest against the Centre's proposal to privatise two public sector banks.
According to UFBU and All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), 10 lakh bank employees will participate in the strike. Banking services are likely to be hit at several public sector banks (PSBs) like State Bank of India (SBI), Canara Bank and Bank of Maharashtra (BoM).
Bank of Maharashtra has already warned its customers about the same. "If the strike materialises, the normal functioning of the bank's branches/offices is likely to be affected. The bank is taking all necessary steps to minimize the impact of the strike so as to provide the normal banking services to its customers," an official Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) release read.
Maharashtra: The United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU), has called a two-day nationwide strike today and tomorrow, against the privatisation of Public Sector Banks and 'retrograde banking reforms'. Visuals from Mumbai. pic.twitter.com/lmLGJaXNfv— ANI (@ANI) March 15, 2021
Which services will be hit by bank strike on March 15 and 16?
Services such as deposits and withdrawals at bank branches, cheque clearance and loan approvals are likely to be affected due to this strike. ATMs may, however, continue to function normally.
Banks have assured their customers they are taking all necessary steps to ensure the smooth running of bank offices and branches on the days of the proposed two-day bank strike. In a sigh of relief for customers, services at private banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and IndusInd Bank are likely to remain unaffected by the strike.
Who will participate in March 15-March 16 bank strike?
The UFBU comprises nine main bank unions, which will participate in the strike. The said bank unions are-All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers' Congress (INBOC), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW).
Why are bank employees observing the strike?
Bank unions are protesting the Centre's privatisation policy after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget 2021 speech, announced the privatisation of two public sector banks as part of the Centre's divestment plan.
"Other than IDBI Bank, we propose to take up privatisation of two public sector banks and one general insurance company in the year 2021-22. This would require legislative amendments and I propose to introduce the amendments in this session itself," FM Sitharaman said during her budget speech.
The Centre has already privatised IDBI Bank by selling its majority stake in the bank to LIC in 2019 and has merged 14 public sector banks (PSBs) in the last four years.