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Bank unions threaten to intensify protests against privatization bid

Around 1 million bank employees took part in the last strike, on 15 and 16 March.mint (MINT_PRINT)Premium
Around 1 million bank employees took part in the last strike, on 15 and 16 March.mint (MINT_PRINT)

  • The general council meeting has called upon all our unions and members all over the country to continue the struggle against bank privatisation, a union said
  • Last month, clearance of cheques and payment instruments totalling 16,500 crore were affected on the first day of the strike

Bank unions across India have threatened to hold more strikes against the Union government’s proposal to privatize some state-run banks.

In the general council meeting of the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) on Sunday, members were asked to intensify their agitation.

“The general council meeting has called upon all our unions and members all over the country to continue the struggle against bank privatisation, get ready for prolonged strikes and intensify our campaign to defend public sector banking and defeat attempts of privatization," the union said in a statement.

Around one million bank employees took part in the last strike, on 15 and 16 March, to show their opposition to the privatization plan.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in the Union budget 2021-22 that the government will pare stakes in two state-run banks besides IDBI Bank, without specifying names.

Bank unions have also begun engaging with customers and the public at large, on what they believe are the ill-effects of privatization.

“Public sector banks provide permanent jobs for the educated youth. But we know the plight of the employees working in the new private banks where job security is totally absent. Fair wages are denied. Trade union rights are non-existent. Thus, privatisation of banks will enslave the young employees into these adverse conditions," according to the statement by the AIBEA.

Last month, clearance of cheques and payment instruments totalling 16,500 crore were affected on the first day of the strike.

Mint reported on 15 March that payment instruments such as cheques, demand drafts and pay orders are processed by three large centres. While Chennai handles 5.8 million instruments worth 5,150 crore every day, Mumbai handles 8.6 million instruments worth 6,500 crore and Delhi processes 5.7 million instruments worth 4,850 crore.

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