Two-day nationwide bank strike: Here's how day 1 panned out
Banking operations across the country were affected on Monday as public lenders observed day one of a two-day nationwide strike called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, on March 15 and 16, to protest against the central government's proposed privatisation and disinvestment plan.
Here's how the first day of the strike panned out:
> Delhi saw massive demonstrations of employees of public sector banks who protested at Parliament Street, Jantar Mantar and Connaught Place against the proposed privatisation of banks.
> In Maharashtra, unions claimed that more than 86 lakh cheques, other financial instruments worth ₹6,500 crore were held from clearance. The body's state convenor, Devidas Tuljapurkar, claimed that cheque clearances and cash transactions were mostly impacted. Over 50,000 bank employees from the state, from more than 10,000 different branches, participated in the nationwide strike.
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> All India Nationalised Bank Officers' Federation (AINBOF) organised demonstrations across the country. The Hyderabad unit devised folk song singers to create awareness amongst the public regarding the issue.
> In Rajasthan, more than 8,200 branches of public and rural banks were affected by the strike. UFBU state convenor Mahesh Mishra claimed that business worth ₹10,000 crore was disturbed by the strike that saw participation of around 36,000 employees and officers, including over 500 assistant general managers. Around 15,000 ATMS in the state were also out of cash, Mishra claimed.
> Bank employees of various other big and small cities- Agartala, Chandigarh, Agra, Madurai, Chennai, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Bhubaneswar, Silchar, Rohtak, Patna etc.-also participated in the strike and raised slogans. The three main slogans raised during the strike were 'save PSBs', ‘sustain social banking’ and ‘safeguard people’s savings.’
> The Opposition Congress extended support to the strike and accused the Union government of causing ‘inconveniences’ to the public. "We stand in solidarity with 10 lakh bank officials and staff participating in the strike against reckless privatisation of public sector banks. The strike called by the United Forum of Bank Union is against the ill-placed priorities of the Modi government. The Modi government is responsible for the inconvenience being faced by the people," news agency PTI quoted party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala as saying.
The two-day strike was called after Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her Budget speech on February 1, announced privatisation of two public sector banks as part of the disinvestment plan of the central government.