NEW DELHI : Services at several bank branches and ATMs could be affected tomorrow as thousands of bank employees have threatened to sit on a day-long strike on January 8. The bank strike call, given by a cluster of five bank employee unions and supported by another one, is part of a Bharat Bandh call given by ten central trade unions.

Banking services at branches and ATMs could be hit at several places as employees and officers union leaders have asked their members to stay away from work. The All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) has issued a circular asking members to not demand nor accept any keys tomorrow. They have also been asked to not perform any clerical duties and join the protest.

India's largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), said since the membership of bank employees in unions participating in strike is very few, so the impact on bank operations will be minimal.

Bank of Baroda, on the other hand, fears that the functioning of its branches and offices may be affected or even paralyzed as a result of the bank strike tomorrow. Netbanking services is unlikely to be affected. Online NEFT transfers have not only been made free by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) but funds can now be transferred online 24x7.

Bank unions are joining tomorrow's strike not just in solidarity with their counterparts in other sectors but also to protest against banking reforms and mega merger of PSU banks. They are also demanding a pay hike besides a uniform 5-day week.

Ten central trade unions -- INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, TUCC, SEWA, AICCTU, LPF, UTUC -- are expecting that around 25 crore people will join their nationwide strike call tomorrow in protest against the economic policies of the Narendra Modi government.

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