Majority of banking transactions across India were hit on Friday as some one million staff struck work to protest proposals to divest government stake in state-run institutions, apart from demanding a host of welfare schemes.
"Nearly one million bank employees in state run, private sector as well as foreign banks have struck work today (Friday). The nationwide response for the strike call is good," the convener of the United Forum of Bank Unions, CH Venkatachalam said in Chennai.
"Cheque clearing operations have also been impacted," said the senior office bearer of the forum, which is an umbrella body representing nine unions in the banking industry, but admitted that some private banks were functioning.
"ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are functioning. We do not have a presence in them," he added.
"We find that the government's equity capital in public sector banks is being diluted and reduced and consequently the private capital in our public sector banks is increasing," said Harvinder Singh of the All India Bank Officers' Confederation.
"We demand that public sector banks should not be privatised and government's equity capital in our banks should not be reduced. Do not avail World Bank loan to capitalise public sector banks."
Other demands include no merger of state-run banks, no outsourcing of permanent banking jobs to private sector, resumption of recruitment in right earnest, give jobs to family members on compassionate grounds and frame guidelines for housing, car and other loans.
The union officials said they will meet Aug 10 in Bangalore to decide on the next course of action.