NEW DELHI :
Protesting against economic policies of the Narendra Modi government, scores of bank employees today joined a day-long bank strike in several parts of India today. Several public sector banks were affected due to the strike, part of the nationwide Bharat Bandh today.
Banking services like cash withdrawal and deposits were affected at several bank branches where employees did not turn up for work and instead chose to sit outside on protest. A cluster of seven bank unions had asked their members to neither take keys of offices and branches nor report to work. ATM services might also get affected at some places, as a result.
Other banking services like cheque clearing and instrument issuance are also expected to be impacted due to the bank strike. Netbanking services are least likely to be affected. RBI has made online NEFT transfers a round-the-clock process and also waived off charges.
India's largest lender, the State Bank of India (SBI), had earlier said it expects only minimal impact due to the strike as only a few of its employees are part of the striking unions. Other major PSU lenders like the Bank of Baroda had also issued warnings of operations getting affected at both its branches and offices.
Five bank unions -- All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF) and Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC) -- came together last month to announce bank strike in solidarity with their counterparts in central trade unions who are sitting on Bharat Bandh today.
Later on, two other unions, Bank Karmachari Sena Mahasangh (BKSM) and All India Bank Officers' Confederation, also decided to join the bank strike.
Bank unions have been protesting against bank mergers and banking reforms being undertaken by the Modi government. The unions are also demanding wage revision, uniform 5-day work week, etc.
Last year in October also, the two bank unions had sat on a strike on similar issues.
The central government, in the meantime, has asked all public sector undertakings to dissuade their employees from participating in Bharat Bandh. Employees sitting on strike or even protest have been threatened with consequences like deduction of wages and even a disciplinary action.