The banking Services of the state-owned banks will be affected because of the decision of some employees' unions who have decided to go on a nationwide strike on Tuesday, 22nd October 2019 to protest against the bank mergers and a decline in the deposit rates. However, the other various officers and private sector banks are not a huge part of the strike. The strike was observed by two bank unions that are AIBEA (All India Bank Employees Association) and (BEFI) Bank Employees Federation of India. It will be a 24-hour strike starting this morning. These bank unions are protesting against the decision of the government to merge 10 public sector banks into four bigger banks as per reports thus, deciding to close down six important nationalized banks of India.
Most banks including SBI (State Bank Of India) that is the country's largest lender, have made the customers aware of the strike and what its impact will be on them. Although there will be a lesser impact expected on SBI's operations. Many other PSU banks such as Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, Syndicate Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce may see disruptions in their operations. The bank employees' union leaders have reportedly threatened to shut down ATMs.
In the financial capital city of Mumbai, it is the third day consecutively that the banks will remain shut. This is because Yesterday all the banks were shut in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana because of the assembly elections.
SBI said in a report to the stock exchanges last week that, "The membership of the employees of our bank in the unions which are participating in the strike is only a few, and so the impact of the strike on its operations will not be much." Along with SBI, the Regional Rural Banks and Cooperative Banks will most likely remain open as well as some private sector banks too will function as normal.
Another public sector bank, the Syndicate Bank had said in a statement that: "The bank is going to take the necessary steps for the smooth functioning of its branches on the day of the strike. If the strike goes on, then the functioning of the branches/offices may get impacted."
Mr. C H Venkatachalam, the General Secretary of AIBEA bank union has said in a statement that "because there was no positive outcome of the meeting held by the chief labor commissioner, it has been collectively decided to go ahead with the strike. The meeting was held in the presence of the chief labor commissioner between the representatives of the Indian Banks' Association and unions that failed to reach a common decision. He further added, "Hence our call for strike stands. We permit all our unions and members all over the country to go ahead with the strike."
In the month of September, the officers' unions collectively called a two-day all India bank strike on September 26 and 27, that was called off later, after the government's intervention when the Union Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar had assured the unions that were protesting that the government will look into their demands. Along with the several central trade unions, the All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA) has also been in support of the strike. AIBOA has told its members to not join work today in support of the strike.
The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), in support of the strike, has described these bank mergers as completely ‘ill-timed and ill-motivated’. “We do appreciate the struggle of AIBEA and BEFI bank unions we completely support their nationwide strike on October 22, 2019. We think that this struggle should be continued further and has to be intensified as these mergers announced by the government are an introduction to the privatization of the Banks," as per the trade union.
After the merger of the Bank of Baroda with the Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a mega plan for the consolidation for 10 other PSU banks.
According to the consolidation plan, the United Bank of India and the Oriental Bank of Commerce are going to be merged with the Punjab National Bank. This will make the proposed entity the second largest public sector bank (PSB) of India. Then, the Syndicate Bank is going to be merged with the Canara Bank. The Allahabad Bank is going to be merged with the Indian Bank. The Andhra Bank and the Corporation Bank will be merged with the Union Bank of India, as per the reports.
The employees' bank unions are actively demanding a reduction in the service charges and the penal charges. They are also demanding an increase in the interest rates on bank deposits. As the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cut its repo rate for the fifth consecutive time this month, the bank FD (Fixed Deposit) rates have been falling.
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