Banking strike: Commercial operations in Maharashtra paralysed

A large number of banks have already informed their customers that functioning of branches and offices will be impacted if the strike takes off

The strike called by all union under the umbrella of United Forum of Bank Unions may affect services in public sector banks.

The body's other demands include criminal action against wilful default of bank loans, implementing recommendations of parilamentary committee on recovery of NPAs, abolishing Banks Board Bureau, reimbursement of expenses incurred during the demonetisation and Jan Dhan campaigns, and removal of Gratuity Ceiling under Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.

Around 42,000 bank employees and officers from Maharashtra joined their colleagues in the daylong nationwide strike, with plans to intensify the agitation, a top official said.

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Dilip Singh Chauhan, Secretary-General of the Bank of India Officers Association said, "The United Forum of Bank Unions has been constituted for the conduct of protest on Tuesday". "The security of money and the ease of transaction can be assured only by public-sector banks".

This was stated by Malkeet Singh, State General Secretary of Punjab National Bank Staff Union at a press conference held here on Monday. On a countrywide call, all bank branches observed the strike and remained closed for the whole day.

More than 12 lakh financial instruments, including foreign exchange transactions, cheque clearance and sanctioning of loans, will be affected by the strike, Venkatachalam said. "Bank ATMs which worked for a couple of hours initially also could not dispense cash later", said UFBU Convenor Devidas Tuljapurkar. Addressing the agitating bankers, Avnish Khosla flayed the Union Government for its "anti-public" sector and "pro-corporate" policies and delay in the wage revision. The bank unions have already announced about the strike.Bank employees participated in the dharna staged at the SBI office in Gandhi Nagar on Tuesday.

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The Indian Banks' Association earlier notified customers that services may take a hit.

"The main and real problem facing the Banks today is the alarming increase in bad loans".

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