Banking services across the state remained paralysed as entire workforce and officers of both public and private sector banks went on a two-day strike at the call given by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to protest the Centre’s move to amend banking law and implement the Khandelwal committee recommendations.
The strike dealt a serious blow to business activities in the state as banking transactions to the tune of Rs 450 - Rs 500 crore were blocked at different stages of the process.
About 42,000 officials and staff of all private and public sector banks joined in the protest, which will also continue on Thursday. Delivery of cash from the automated teller machines (ATMs) were also hit due to the strike.
The strike call was given by the UFBU in protest against the Centre's move to amend the banking law, which seeks to make bank mergers more easy and thereby pave the way for privatisation of the public sector banks.
The UFBU leaders apprehended, that the amendments to the existing law would set in motion the process of dilution of public sector banks and create a situation of uncontrolled and deregulated banking sector that was witnessed in the US and European countries recently.
A large number of bank employees gathered at near main branch of Indian Bank premises and held demonstration in support of their seven-point charter of demands, which included withdrawal of Khandelwal committee's recommendations, ban on outsourcing of banking works and appointments on compassionate ground.
Employees and officials of rural banks, Nabard and the Reserve Bank of India also extended moral support to the UFBU's strike call by refusing to work in their respective offices, said general secretary of the Bank Employees' Federation, Bihar, B Prasad.
State convener of UFBU PD Singh said that the strike would be intensified if the government failed to fulfill their demands. According to sources, work in city and district treasuries across the state were also affected because of the strike.
Members of the State Bank of India Staff Association led by its general secretary Umesh Prasad Singh also staged a dharna at the main branch of the SBI in support of the UFBU call.