Nationwide strike on March 28-29 could have partial impact on banking services

Banking services could be partially hit on Monday and Tuesday as a section of bank workers’ unions backed the two-day nationwide general strike called by the unions.

The joint forum of central unions and various sectoral independent unions called for a strike on Monday and Tuesday to protest against the government’s anti-people and anti-worker economic policies.

Their demands include the removal of labor codes, no privatization in any form, the removal of the National Monetization Pipeline (NMP), an increase in wage allocation under the MNREGA, and the regularization of contract workers, among others.

“AIBEA has decided to support this call and join this strike to focus on the demands of the banking sector,” said the Indian Association of Bank Employees (AIBEA).

Its general secretary, CH Venkatachalam, said the banking union is calling on the government to stop the privatization of public sector banks and strengthen them, prompt recovery of bad debts, higher deposit rates by banks, fees service reductions for customers as well as the restoration of the old pension plan.

The AIBEA of public sector banks, private banks, foreign banks, cooperative banks and regional rural banks will join the strike, the banking union said in a statement.

A number of public sector banks, including the country’s largest lender, SBI, said their services may be affected to some extent due to the strike.

The SBI said it has taken the necessary steps to ensure the normal operation of its branches and offices on strike days.

“It is likely that the work in our bank will be affected to some extent by the strike,” SBI said.

The Punjab National Bank (PNB), headquartered in the city, said AIBEA, Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) served notices proposing to strike on March 28 and 29, 2022.

“Although the bank has taken all measures to ensure the normal operation of its branches and offices, it is likely that work in our bank may be affected to a limited extent by the strike,” said PNB.

Canara Bank, which is headquartered in Bengaluru, said it was taking necessary measures to ensure the smooth functioning of branches and banking offices. However, if the strike materializes, the functioning of the bank could be impacted, added Canara Bank.

Private sector RBL Bank said its banking unions are affiliated with AIBOA and AIBEA, and employees associated with these unions can participate in the strike.

“The topic of the strike is about industry level issues and is nowhere related to bank level issues. However, it is likely that some of our branches would also be affected by the strike,” RBL said.

Apart from the two-day strike, customer banking services could also be affected on March 31 as RBI has asked banks to participate in the annual public accounts closing exercise for the current financial year 2021-22.

All government transactions carried out by bank branches for the 2021-22 fiscal year must be accounted for in the same fiscal year.

All agent banks should keep their designated branches open for over the counter transactions related to government transactions until normal working hours on March 31, 2022, the RBI said in a notification to banks.

Special compensation will be made on Thursday for the collection of government checks and RBI will issue the necessary instructions in this regard.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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