Bank strike hits services across India; cheque clearance likely to be affected
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Mumbai: Nearly 10 lakh bank employees across India went on strike on Tuesday to protest against various issues facing the country’s banking system.
According to a statement by Vishwas Utagi, vice-president of All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), a united forum of seven unions have announced a strike on Tuesday.
Members of employee unions, including All India Bank Officers Association, National Confederation of Bank Employees, Bank Employees Federation of India, Indian National Bank Officers Congress and Indian National Bank Employees’ Federation, will be on strike, according to Utagi.
The members include employees of foreign banks, private banks, state-owned banks, regional rural banks and co-operative banks, who work at 1.25 lakh bank branches across the country.
The members will be “opposing merger of state sector banks in the State Bank of India (SBI), consolidation and privatization of banks, demonetisation and destruction of Indian economy and outsourcing of regular work”, according to Utagi.
The unions will also demand the recovery of Rs16 trillion worth stressed assets by punishing big borrowers and bankers responsible for these loans. The unions will seek compensation to customers and employees, who died during the 50 days of demonetisation.
The government has said that the SBI will merge with its five associate banks by 1 April. According to various economists and by the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) own assessment, demonetisation is likely to have an impact on economic growth, albeit short-lived. The Indian banking system has been struggling with resolution and recovery of bad loans, which has proven to be difficult due to macroeconomic difficulties and lack of a sustainable model.