New Delhi: On Day 2 of the two-day bank strike, unions said that 100 percent participation was witnessed from scale I, II and III bank employees, same as Day 1 and the strike came to a close with a decision to hold a meeting and discuss ways to further intensify the stir if the government doesn't withdraw its decision to privatise public sector banks (PSBs). "If the government proceeds with their decision to privatise the banks, we will be left with no option than to further intensify the agitation with more prolonged strikes," said All-India Bank Employees' Association General Secretary CH Venkatachalam on Tuesday.
PSU bank employees took to the streets across states in India on both the days and raised slogans like, 'save PSBs', 'sustain social banking' and 'safeguard people's savings.' Venkatachalam told PSU Watch that the strike saw young bank employees leading the demonstrations from the front, signifying that they realise the "dangers of privatisation."
Commenting on the future course of action, All India Bank Officers Association's (AIBOC's) general secretary Sowmya Dutta said that if the government does not yield to their demands, bank employees may go in for an even bigger, indefinite strike on the lines of the farmers' agitation. "As per reports reaching us from various centres like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Agra, Ranchi, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Thiruvananthapuram, Raipur, Rajkot, Bhubaneswar, Nagpur, Guwahati, Jammu, Agratala, Shimla, Panaji, the strike today is a full success," said Venkatachalam.
Most of the branches of state-run lenders could not be opened because of the strike. Clearing of cheques didn't happen since banks were not accepting cheques for clearance. "On an average, about 2 crores cheques/instruments worth about Rs 16,500 crore are held up for clearance. Government treasury operations, and all normal banking transactions have been affected," said AIBEA in an official statement.
Commenting on the impact of the bank strike, Devdas Menon, General Secretary of All India Bank Officers' Confederation, said that ATMs also ran dry due to the strike because banks have been closed for four days straight.
The two-day strike was held under the banner of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). UFBU comprises of nine major unions — All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers' Congress (INBOC), National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) and National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO).
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