- Some banks have warned that their operations may be hit due to strike
- SBI, however, said that strike will have a minimum impact on its branches
- In August, the government announced mega merger plans for state-run banks
Two unions of bank employees have called a strike on October 22 to oppose the mega merger of 10 state-run banks into four. The All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) have proposed an all-India strike on October 22 to protest against the merger of Punjab National Bank (PNB) with United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce, Syndicate Bank with Canara Bank; Allahabad Bank with Indian Bank, and Andhra Bank with Corporation Bank and Union Bank of India. 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 country's largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI), has however said that the strike will have a minimum impact on its branches as most of its employees are not part of these unions.
"AIBEA and BEFI have called for an all India strike of its members on October 22, in support of their demands. In the event the strike materializes, the normal functioning of the bank may get affected," Oriental Bank of Commerce said in the regulatory filing on Saturday.
In a regulatory filing earlier this week, Bank of Baroda said that the functioning of its branches/offices may be "affected/paralyzed" due to the proposed strike. The state-run lender, however, assured that it is taking all necessary steps for smooth functioning in bank branches on the day of strike.
In a joint statement, the unions 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 charges 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.
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