Two-day nationwide bank strike hits key services

Banking operations, including cheque clearance, across the country were affected on March 15 as bankers under the aegis of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) have gone on a nationwide strike to protest against the proposed privatisation of two state-owned lenders.

UFBU, an umbrella body of nine unions, had given a strike call for March 15 and 16, and claimed that about 10 lakh bank employees and officers of the banks will participate in the strike.

However, branches of private sector lenders like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were open as they were not part of the strike.

In the Union Budget presented in February, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced the privatisation of two public sector banks (PSBs) as part of the government’s disinvestment plan.

The government has already privatised IDBI Bank by selling its majority stake in the lender to LIC in 2019, and has merged 14 public sector banks in the last four years.

According to All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam, services at branch level; cheque clearance; and government transactions have been affected.

Besides, money markets and stock markets are also going to face problems as payments would be impacted, he said.

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