Banking services in the national capital region (NCR) were affected on Tuesday as lakhs of bank staff began their one-day pan-India strike against reforms in the banking sector, an official said.
An official of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) -- the umbrella body of nine unions which has given the strike call -- said over 10 lakh bank employees spread in more than 1,30,000 branches across the country struck work hitting cheque clearing activity.
The UFBU is protesting against reforms in the banking sector and other issues.
"The strike is a huge success. Bank officials held demonstrations outside branches last evening (Monday) to protest the government's move to merge and privatise banks," All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam told IANS.
The strike comes after the talks here between UFBU on one side and Indian Banks' Association, Chief Labour Commissioner and Department of Financial Services (DFS) failed on Friday.
"All India State Bank Officers' Federation and All India State Bank of India Staff Federation being part of the UFBU will participate in the strike. It is likely that our bank will also be impacted by the strike," State Bank of India (SBI) said in a regulatory filing in the BSE.
Among the 17-point charter of union demands, the main relates to the government's denial of adequate capital to public sector banks, thus creating conditions for privatisation, an AIBEA statement said on Tuesday.
"Privatisation of banks means privatising the Rs 80 lakh crore of common people's money available in our banks.
"This is dangerous for the country and our people. Privatisation of banks will result in denial of loans to priority sectors like agriculture, rural development and education," AIBEA said.
"The main and real problem facing the banks today is the alarming increase in bad loans. It is now Rs 15 lakh crore that is about 20 per cent of total loans. Bulk of bad loans are due from big industrialists and corporate houses," it said.