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'Bank strike may hit transactions over Rs 1 lakh crore'

Wednesday, March 01, 2017
Photograph By Azad Shrivastav

Bank employees protest during their day-long strike to press for various demands at Azad Maidan in Mumbai yesterday.

Industry body Assocham yesterday said that the day-long strike observed by public sector banks yesterday may negatively impact forex and paper clearing transactions worth up to Rs 1.3 lakh crore. "The all India bank strike might also impact deployment of gross bank credit worth up to Rs 1,600 crore," said DS Rawat, Secretary General of Assocham.

He said that the Centre should work towards driving reforms in public sector banking to rein in the huge amount of non-performing assets (NPAs) and improve the lower levels of credit off-take. Branches of public sector banks remained either closed or non-operational yesterday as staffers and officers went ahead with their day-long strike pressing for various demands, including accountability of top executives in the wake of mounting bad loans.

Services like cash deposits and withdrawal from branches and cheque clearances have been hit hard by the strike, which was called under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). The UFBU is an umbrella body of 9 unions, but two of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh affiliates -- the National Organisation of Bank Workers and the National Organisation of Bank Officers -- are not part of the stir.

Strike hits banking operations; ATMs run dry
Banking operations were hit today by the day-long, nation-wide strike called by employees of public sector banks, with ATMs running dry at various places across the country. The All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) claimed success, saying all the branches kept their shutters down.

"People could not go to banks to transact anything, deposit money, withdraw money or do any other transaction. Government treasury transactions could not be done, import and export transactions were hit, money market operations were not possible," AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam told PTI. Money transfer and cash remittances were also hit.

Venkatachalam said clearing operations have been paralysed in a big way despite the Reserve Bank keeping its operations open because employees were not available. Some private sector banks are also part of the strike called under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to press their demands including fixing accountability of top officers over increasing bad loans, opposing labour reforms as well as outsourcing of permanent jobs.

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