Two-day bank strike ends, unions threaten to intensify stir if public sector banks privatised

The two-day nationwide strike by the public sector bank (PSB) unions towards the central authorities’s coverage to privatise public sector banks concluded on Tuesday.

While banking companies corresponding to money withdrawals, deposits, cheque clearances and remittances had been disrupted, enterprise transactions in addition to authorities treasury operations had been additionally affected due to the strike.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), consisting of 9 bank unions — AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW and NOBO — had given the strike name to protest towards the federal government’s determination to privatise two extra public sector lenders.

“Strike was a full success, employees and officers stood with us. The way they participated and raised slogans, it shows their disapproval of the government decision very clearly.

“We received help from all commerce unions, some farmer organisations, lot of political events have supported us,” AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam told PTI.

10 lakh bank workers, officers participated within the strike

In a press release, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) congratulated the collaborating workers and officers throughout the country for protesting “against the BJP government’s strikes to privatise public sector banks”.

“Around 10 lakh bank workers and officers participated within the strike referred to as by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), paralysing all the banking sector. The joint platform of central commerce unions and nearly all unbiased industrial federations within the nation prolonged full help to the strike. Tens of 1000’s of employees participated within the demonstrations throughout the nation, in help of the strike,” CITU said.

Venkatachalam said the bank unions will again engage with the government on the issue and try to convince it that the proposed move is not in favour of the economy or the general public.

He said if the Centre feels that there are problems in the running of the public sector lenders, the bank unions will try to address those concerns.

Conciliation meetings were held on March 4,9,10 with Addtnl Chief Labour Commissioner

Before going for the strike, conciliation meetings were held with the Additional Chief Labour Commissioner on 4, 9 and 10 March. The UFBU offered to reconsider the strike provided the government reconsidered its decision, he said.

“Again we’ll inform them, no matter are the grievances towards the operating of the public sector banks, we’re prepared to discuss and we’ll deal with the priority after which there isn’t any want for privatisation.

“But still if you are not convinced…then more strikes will happen. If they are not ready to listen to us and go ahead with their decision on the back of their strength in the Parliament, then there will be more strikes in the future,” Venkatachalam warned.

Normal banking companies had been tremendously affected due to the strike, the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) stated.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget speech for 2021-22 had stated the federal government will privatise two extra public sector banks going ahead.

In 2019, the Central authorities had privatised IDBI Bank by promoting its majority stake to LIC whereas it merged 14 different public sector banks within the final 4 years.

‘PSBs incomes working income, no want for privitisation’

Bank unions stated the PSBs are incomes working income and there’s no want for privatisation.

As on March 2020, these banks earned a complete revenue of Rs 1,74,000 crore. However, for the reason that banks supplied Rs 2,00,000 crore for unhealthy loans, there was a web lack of Rs 26,000 crore, they stated.

“Hence if bad loans are recovered from the private corporate companies, banks will be earning much more. Private sector is responsible for the huge bad loans. In fact they should be punished for this crime. But the government is rewarding them by handing over the banks to the private sector,” AIBEA stated.

Seeking co-operation and help of the individuals of their ‘battle to save the PSBs’, the bank unions stated if the federal government proceeds with its determination to privatise the lenders, they are going to be left with no possibility than to additional intensify their agitation with extra extended strikes.

CITU urged the bank workers to intensify the battle to save public sector banks from being offered off to corporates, each Indian and overseas.

“CITU and the joint trade union platform have already extended their support to the country wide strike of the general insurance employees on 17th March and that of the LIC of India employees on 18th March, against privatisation.

“CITU members will actively take part in solidarity actions on today,” it added.

(With inputs from PTI)

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