Regular banking services and operations have been majorly affected by the one-day strike today of public sector bank employees. A nationwide strike was implemented today in order to protest against the proposed move of the Government to consolidate and merge public sector banks along with appeals for meeting a host of other demands. The strike has been called by public sector bank unions under the umbrella of the United Forum of Bank Unions or UFBU which comprises of 9 such unions including AIBEA (All India Bank Employees Association), AIBOC (All India Bank Officers’ Confederation) and NOBW (National Organization of Bank Workers).
The Indian Banks’ Association, a leading industry body, has already directed banks to take their own measures for minimizing the overall impact of the strike. 21 public sector banks account for 75% of total business in the sector in the country. The strike was confirmed after talks failed between the Chief Labor Commissioner, Department of Financial Services and Indian Banks’ Association last week. Here are some key things to know about this strike:
- As per union leaders, a whopping 10 lakh bankers employed across 1,32,000 branches are on strike today
- Deposit/withdrawal along with cheque clearances, RTGS/NEFT transactions will be impacted at public sector banks
- Online transactions will not be affected
- Operations at private sector organizations like Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and ICICI Bank will remain normal though there will be delays in cheque clearances
The other demands put up by the union include the declaration of willful loan default as a criminal offence along with a no-write-off policy in case of NPAs (non-performing assets) of corporate loans. A leading union leader also stated that the Government should offer overtime for the extra work undertaken by banks in the demonetization period. He also added that banks should not put the burden of corporate NPAs onto regular bank customers by increasing their service charges. However, vital operations of all public sector banks including data centres will stay open in order to enable smooth online transactions according to officials.