Updated: March 15, 2021 8:15:51 am
Banking services across the country are likely to get affected over the next four days as employees from various public sector banks (PSBs) have gone on strike on March 15 – 16, 2021 to protest against the proposed privatisation of two state-owned lenders.
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 March 15. This, along with two bank holidays on March 13 (second Saturday) and March 14 (Sunday) would translate to a four-day break in the regular banking operations.
The move by the union body of bankers is in response to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s Union Budget 2021-22 announcement where she announced the privatisation of two public sector banks (apart from IDBI Bank) as part of the government’s disinvestment drive to generate Rs 1.75 lakh crore. The government has proposed to privatise two PSBs and one general insurance company in the financial year 2021-22.
The government has already privatised IDBI Bank by selling its majority stake to the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) in 2019 and merged 14 public sector banks in the last four years.
Conciliation meetings – before the Additional Chief Labour Commissioner on March 4, 9 and 10 – did not yield any positive result, said All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary C H Venkatachalam in a statement.
Members of UFBU include All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) and Bank Employees Confederation of India (BEFI).
Others are 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).
Around 10 lakh bank employees and officers are expected to participate in the upcoming strike, according to Venkatachalam.
Many public sector lenders, including the country’s largest bank State Bank of India (SBI), have informed their customers about the impact of the strike on their functioning of branches and offices.
“We inform that, we have been advised by lndian Banks Association (lBA) that United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) which comprises 9 major Unions, viz. All lndia Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All lndia Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress (INBOC), National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) & National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO), has given a call for all lndia strike by Bank Employees on 15th & 16th March, 2021. While Bank has made all arrangements to ensure normal functioning in its branches and offices, it is likely that work in our Bank may be impacted by the strike,” SBI said in a filing to the stock exchanges earlier this week.
(with PTI inputs)
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