India bankers go on nationwide strike over privatisation of 2 SoBs

Business Desk | Published at 10:07pm on March 15, 2021

Bankers in India, under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions, went on a two-day nationwide strike on Monday to protest against the proposed privatisation of two state-owned banks.

The UFBU, an umbrella body of nine unions, called a strike for March 15 and 16, and claimed that about 10 lakh bank employees and officers of the banks will participate in the strike, reports the Press Trust of India.

Banking operations, including cheque clearance, across India were affected on Monday due to the strike.

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

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

The Indian 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 general secretary CH Venkatachalam, services at branch level, cheque clearance, and government transactions have been affected during the strike hours.

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

Members of the UFBU include the All India Bank Employees Association, the All India Bank Officers Confederation, the National Confederation of Bank Employees, the All India Bank Officers’ Association and the Bank Employees Confederation of India.