With several bank employee unions deciding to join the all-India general strike or ‘Bharat Bandh’ on January 8, banking operations are likely to be affected on Wednesday. Ten central trade unions, with support from Left parties, have decided to sit on a strike to protest against the economic policies of the Narendra Modi government.
Bank branches where employees and officers join the bank strike call will see a disruption in services. Several branches may also remain shut on Wednesday as bank unions have asked employees to not accept keys. In several places, ATM services could also be impacted but netbanking is likely to function normally as NEFT online transfers now available 24×7.
While India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), expects the impact of the bank strike to be minimal, Bank of Baroda fears that its operations could be hit.
“The membership of our bank employees in unions participating in strike is very few, so the impact of strike on Banks operation will be minimal,” SBI said in a stock exchange filing.
Bank of Baroda said it is taking necessary steps for smooth functioning on the day of strike but if the strike materializes, functioning of its branches and offices may be affected or paralyzed.
Five constituents of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) — the umbrella body of nine trade unions — had last month called for an all India bank strike on the same date as that of the general strike to protest against banking reforms and merger of PSU banks. The strike call, led by All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and others, is supported by the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation.