Banking operations will be hit across the country on Tuesday as 3.5 lakh banking employees across the country will go on a one-day bank strike. The bank strike has been jointly called by All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) to protest against the government's proposed move to merge 10 public sector banks into four. The call for bank strike on October 22 is also being backed by the the central trade unions. Banks such as Oriental Bank of Commerce, Bank of Maharashtra, Syndicate Bank and Bank of Baroda have warned that their operations may be impacted due to the proposed strike, according to regulatory filings.
"The government's decision is most unfortunate and totally unwarranted. All the banks who now are facing closures namely Andhra Bank, Allahabad Bank Syndicate Bank, Corporation Bank, United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce are well performing Banks and have been greatly contributing for our nation's economic development in their respective geographical areas," central trade unions said supporting the strike on Tuesday.
"There is no evidence that previous mergers in SBI, Bank of Baroda, etc. have yielded any positive results. This is not the time to experiment with merger of banks when banks are required to play a crucial role in lifting the economy out of its present serious mess and crisis," central trade unions added.
In a joint statement, the AIBEA and BEFI said, that the strike call is to oppose bank mergers and banking reforms and high penal and service charges for customers. Other demands include recovery of bad loans, stringent action on defaulters and job security, according to the statement.
"We can easily understand that mergers are a prelude to privatisation of banks and hence we need to vehemently oppose such moves," BEFI said in a statement earlier this month.
In August, the government announced mega merger plans for state-run banks in a bid to strengthen the country's financial sector, a move which it said would bring down the number of public sector banks (PSBs) in the system to 12 from 27.