Protest against merger: Banks remain closed, residents left helpless

The strike, which was called by the United Forum of Bank Union, did not affect other banking facilities like ATMs and mobile banking.

Written by Dhruv Bhardwaj | Chandigarh | Published: July 30, 2016 12:21 pm
Bank employees shout slogans as they attend a strike opposing the government's proposal to merge SBI's (State Bank of India) associate banks with SBI, and against the government's proposed move to privatise IDBI Bank, in Mumbai, India, July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade Bank employees shout slogans as they attend a strike opposing the government’s proposal to merge SBI’s  associate banks with SBI, and against the government’s proposed move to privatise IDBI Bank, in Mumbai, July 29, 2016. (Source: REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade)

Residents had a hard time, as the public banks observed a day-long strike against the government’s proposal to merge the associate banks of State Bank of India with the parent bank and privatisation of IDBI Bank.

The strike, which was called by the United Forum of Bank Union, did not affect other banking facilities like ATMs and mobile banking.

The transactions for which customers have to go to the bank were disrupted. Rajinder Singh, the owner of an industry in Mohali, said: “I didn’t know about the strike today. I came all the way to Sector 17 from Mohali to make an urgent transaction. I will face a huge loss because of this.”

Another businessman, Bharat Bhushan, said: “I wanted to withdraw a large amount about which I informed the bank three days ago. They should have informed me about the strike. Now my work will suffer. You can only withdraw a limited amount from the ATMs.”

The government has proposed to merge 1,137 branches of the State Bank group, including Patiala, Kerala, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Hyderabad, with the parent bank. State Bank of Indore and Saurashtra were merged in 2010 and 2008, respectively.

The employees of the banks are worried about their jobs because of the proposal. Some demands made by the bank union include acquisition of associate banks to be at par without discrimination, job security, one time inter-circle transfer option, compensatory allowance, job benefits to be passed on as it is and all head offices of individual banks to be converted into local head office of SBI.

A senior SBI official said: “It is not the fault of bank employees that there is an increase in the number of bank defaulters. This merger will not be effective. It is only because of political interference in banks and lack in legal process, which lead to defaulters. The government should work on that part.”

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