If you happen to bank with a public sector bank, you are likely to be using the Internet and the ATM network more than usual for the next two days — and the clearance of your cheques would likely get delayed anyway.
Nationalised banks such as State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB), Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India and others would be hit by an all-India strike called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on Thursday and Friday.
The strike was called by UFBU in protest against the Indian Banks Association (IBA) going back on its agreement to a 17.9 per cent wage revision; IBA has restricted the wage hike to 15 per cent.
Banks such as SBI have already sent out public notices to customers asking them to complete banking transactions before August 6 to avoid inconvenience.
SBI has also urged its customers to use its extensive ATM network to withdraw money and use Internet banking for any other transactions for the duration of the strike. Other banks have followed suit.
Apart from retail operators, the biggest casualty of the strike is likely to be cheque clearance. On an average 35.21 lakh cheques worth Rs 26,767 crore were cleared everyday in May 2009 alone. About 70 per cent of cheques are likely to be affected — a clearance of a mere 10.6 lakh cheques worth Rs 8,030 crore during the two-day strike.
IBA has already issued a notice to member banks about the strike with guidance on keeping customers informed.
The UFBU, which is a consortium of five workmen unions and four officers’ associations, wanted an immediate resumption of talks and expedited settlement on the terms agreed to earlier by the IBA. When the talks failed the forum decided to go ahead with the strike.