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On December 16, government bank staff are on a two-day national strike

Employees of state-run banks will go on strike for two days beginning Thursday

On December 16, government bank staff are on a two-day national strike
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Nearly nine lakh state-run bank employees are slated to go on a two-day nationwide strike on Thursday, which could cause delays in your financial operations.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), a federation of nine unions that includes the All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), and National Organisation of Bank Workers, has called for a strike (NOBW).

The AIBOC's general secretary, Soumya Datta, confirmed the union's decision to continue the two-day statewide strike. The walkout will include employees and officers from various public sector banks (PSBs), old generation private sector banks, and regional rural banks.

Customers have previously been alerted by the State Bank of India (SBI) about the statewide strike's potential impact on banking operations such as cheque clearance and fund transfer.

SBI, Canara Bank, and UCO Bank, among others, encouraged their staff to reconsider their strike decision, claiming that it is not in the best interests of customers and investors.

"Furthermore, considering the ongoing pandemic situation, resorting to a strike will cause great inconvenience to the stakeholders," SBI said in a tweet.

Why are employees of government banks on strike?

The UFBU called the two-day countrywide strike after a conciliatory meeting with the Additional Chief Labour Commissioner on Wednesday failed to produce any results.

The unions have been protesting since the Centre declared its intention to privatise two public sector lenders in its Budget 2021-22.

Representatives from the unions, the Indian Banks' Association, and the Union Ministry of Finance attended the conciliation meeting, according to CH Venkatachalam, AIBEA's general secretary.

"We reiterated our stand that if the government would assure that the Bank Privatisation Bill (Banking Laws Amendment Bill, 2021) would not be tabled during this session of the Parliament, we would be inclined to reconsider the strike but the government could not give any such assurance to us," Venkatachalam said.

The convener of the UFBU's Maharashtra chapter, Devidas Tuljapurkar, was reported as saying that privatisation of PSBs will result in the closure of bank branches in rural and backward areas.

This will have an impact on the implementation of all government programmes aimed at helping the socially and economically disadvantaged.

Tuljapurkar remarked that bank staff from sweepers to top executives in scale 5 will participate in the two-day nationwide strike and organise demonstrations.

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