PSU bank employees on strike, operations hit

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Services at around 80,000 bank branches in the country were hit on Friday as employees of public sector banks went on a one-day strike to protest proposed merger of SBI associates with the parent and other issues.

However, private sector banks like ICICI Bank were working as usual. Most of the public sector banks including SBI had earlier informed their customers of inconvenience if strike materialises.

The United Forum of Banks Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of nine bank employees and officers unions representing 8 lakh staffers, has gone ahead with the strike, affecting services like cheque clearances, cash deposit and withdrawal at branches and other facilities.

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“The All India State Bank Officers’ Federation and the All India State Bank of India Staff Federation are members of UFBU. Thus, it is likely that the bank will also be impacted to some extent by the said strike calls,” SBI had said in a statement.

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According to the All India Bank Employees Association(AIBEA) General Secretary, C H Venkatachalam, normal operations at branches across all PSU banks were affected.

The conciliation meeting with the Chief Labour Commissioner on 26 July did not yield any positive results.

However, UFBU is willing to reconsider the strike call if the government considers their demand and addresses it.

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“The unions were ready for meaningful discussion, but the government only tried to justify their present policy decision on banking reforms and hence, there was no meeting point,” he explained.

Unions, which are protesting FDI in banking sector, are pressing for various demands, which include one not to privatise public sector banks and increase private capital in such banks, he said.

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