Massive Turnout for the Two Day Bank Strike Against Centre’s Proposed Privatisation Plan

Around a million employees participated in this two-day nationwide strike.

bank strike

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed the privatization and disinvestment of Public sector Banks in the Budget session. The Finance Minister is not going to have it easy with the way bank employees and the citizenry have risen against this decision.

Around a million employees participated in this two-day nationwide strike.

UFBU, an umbrella body of nine unions, had given a strike call for March 15 and 16, and claimed that about 10 lakh bank employees and officers of the banks will participate in the strike.

Members of UFBU include All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) and Bank Employees Confederation of India (BEFI).

Nearly a million bank staff joined the protest on Monday. Banking operations were severely hit as officers and employees of public sector lenders went on a strike to protest against the proposed privatisation of two state-owned banks.

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Protests happened in Bangalore at the Mysore bank circle. Protesters were activists, bank employees,  job seekers, young and old concerned citizens who had gathered and had a lot of anger against the state of the country.

Sarovar Benkikere of Karnataka Vidyarthi Sangathane (KVS) spoke to gaurilankeshnews team and demanded some answers from the govt. Sarovar said- Why are we going to Jio. Why there are no attempts being made to save BSNL?

Our demand is to save banks to nationalise banks and stop privatisation. Schools and colleges should also be nationalised.

Sushma, a Bank employee was also there and expressed her concerns about the privatisation of banks and spoke about the two-day anti corporatisation and anti privatisation bank strike.

She said- “There have been 50 yrs since Indira Gandhi nationalised banks and now they are nationalising everything and same with private banks. This will affect the public the most. Banks don’t hesitate to give large loans to corporates which are then written off and this results in Non-performing assets for the bank and for govt the only solution is privatise the bank. Most affected will be the public rural banks and farmers whose lending will be stopped. We all know what happens after privatisation. Jobs will be affected. There wont be any transparency. I hope this anti privatization protest grows into a bigger movement.

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The government has already privatised IDBI Bank by selling its majority stake in the lender to LIC in 2019, and has merged 14 public sector banks in the last four years.

The other members are the 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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“We have got a tremendous response. Our strike call has also been supported by the National Confederation of Officers Association, farmers, CITU and AITUC,” All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) joint general secretary Sanjoy Das said.

“There are around 6,000 branches of public, private and foreign banks in West Bengal. Most of the bank branches in the state are closed due to the strike. ATMs are not functioning except those located at hospitals, railway stations and airports,” he added.

Banking services in Maharashtra were also severely hit as around 40,000 bank employees and officers joined the strike.

UFBU’s Maharashtra convenor Devidas Tuljapurkar in a statement said that about 40,000 bank employees and officers working in about 10,000 bank branches across the state have joined the nationwide strike.

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