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Bank strike: All you need to know about PSU bank strike today, tomorrow

Bank Strike on 16 and 17 December: The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), which is an umbrella body of nine bank unions, has called for a two-day strike starting from December 16.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: December 16, 2021 11:43:29 am
Bank Strike, Bank Strike Dec 2021Bank Strike December 16, 17 2021: Bank employees shout slogans during a protest as part of two-day nationwide strike called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) against the government's plan to privatise the public sector banks, in Agartala, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. (PTI Photo)

Services of public sector banks (PSBs) are likely to be affected today and tomorrow as over 9 lakh employees went on a 2-day strike on Thursday against the Centre’s plan to privatise state-owned lenders.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of bank unions, has called the strike.

Members of UFBU include the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Confederation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC), National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW), and National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO).

Sanjay Das, general secretary of AIBOC, had said that besides the two-day strike, a series of other agitational programmes will be held if the government does not give up the idea of selling the banks.

He said that this move to privatise PSBs will hurt the priority sectors of the economy and also credit flow to self-help groups and to the rural economy.

In Budget 2021-22, the government had announced its intent to take up the privatisation of two PSBs. The government has budgeted Rs 1.75 lakh crore from stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions, including two PSBs and one insurance company, during the current financial year.

Stating that the public sector banks play a leading role in a country’s economic development, AIBEA general secretary C H Venkatachalam had said because private banks were not helping the Centre, major private banks were nationalised in 1969.

“After that, banks grew in a big way. Instead of strengthening them further, the Union government is trying to privatise them,” he said in a statement earlier this month.

The government has decided to bring a Bill in the current session of Parliament to privatise the banks, he claimed.

Earlier this week, various PSBs including the State Bank of India (SBI) had urged unions to reconsider their decision to go on the two-day nationwide strike and had invited them for further discussions.

On Monday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in a reply to the Lok Sabha said the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation is yet to be decided two candidates for privatisation.

The government had in Budget 2021-22 announced its intent to take up privatisation of two PSBs during the year and approval of a policy of strategic disinvestment of public sector enterprises, she said in the Lok Sabha.

“Consideration of various issues related to disinvestment, which inter alia, include selection of the bank(s) is entrusted to the Cabinet committee designated for this purpose. Decision by the Cabinet committee concerned for privatisation of PSBs has not been taken in this regard,” she said.

On Wednesday, the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu extended support to the two-day nationwide strike called by bank employees on December 16 and 17.

Party general secretary and State Minister Durai Murugan wished the strike success and announced his party’s “total support” to the protest in which close to nine lakh employees of various State-run banks would participate.

This is not the first time that the bank unions have gone on strike this year, earlier in March, they had called a similar two-day strike citing the same reason.

(with PTI inputs)

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