Bank customers may face some disruption with banking services on Wednesday (January 8) as bank employee unions have called for a strike.
Central Trade Unions viz. INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF and UTUC along with various independent Federations and Unions in different Sectors have given the call for National General Strike to protest on Wednesday.
According to a statement from the bank employee unions, over 25 crore workers from the organized and unorganized sector are expected to participate in this strike.
In the Banking Sector, the call has been jointly given by five unions, which include AIBEA, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF and INBOC.
In addition, employees of RBI, Co-operative Banks, RRBs, LIC and General Insurance sector are also reportedly joining the strike.
Employee unions are protesting the governmentâ€™s policy on privatisation and unwarranted merger of banks. They want public sector banks to be strengthened further instead of being privatised. They want to decision of the merger of banks to be withdrawn. â€śIf Banks are privatised, there is risk for peopleâ€™s money as private corporate owners will use this money for their own business purpose and not for national development,â€ť they say.
They also want closure of bank branches to be stopped and more branches be opened in unbanked rural areas.
In addition, they also want action taken on recovering bad loans, which they claim have alarmingly gone up. â€śGovernment has admitted in the Parliament that there are 9331 wilful defaulters who alone owe Rs. 1,22,018 crores. No action is being taken to recover these bad loans,â€ť the statement says.
However, SBI says that operations will not be majorly impacted by the strike.
"The membership of our bank employees in unions participating in the strike is very few, so the impact of the strike on banks operation will be minimal," SBI said in a regulatory filing.
Syndicate Bank also put out a notice asking customers to bear with them and make transactions before the bank strike on January 8. It is to be noted that PSU banks are likely to be among the most affected by the strike.
Bank of Baroda said that its operations could be affected. "The bank is taking necessary steps for smooth functioning of bank's branches/offices on the day of the strike in the event the strike materialises, the functioning of the branches/offices may be affected/paralysed,â€ť it said in a statement to the stock exchanges.