Operations at state-owned banks will be impacted on Tuesday as most unions under the aegis of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) will go on strike to protest the government's "anti-people banking reforms" and to press for various demands including those related to wages.
The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), comprising nine unions -- AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW and NOBO -- will observe the strike, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam said in a statement here.
Two of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh affiliates -- National Organisation of Bank Workers and National Organisation of Bank Officers -- are not part of the stir.
Most of the banks, including SBI, PNB and BoB, have already informed their customers that functioning of branches and offices will be impacted if the strike takes off.
However, the functioning of private banks like ICICI, HDFC, Axis and Kotak Mahindra is expected to be normal except for delays in cheque clearance.
Cash transactions will also be hit and the ATMs are likely to be emptied early during the day.
"Strike is on as there has not been serious effort from the bank management especially Indian Banks' Association (IBA) to defer it by accepting some of our demands," All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) General Secretary Harvinder Singh told PTI.
According to Venkatachalam, Chief Labour Commissioner held a conciliation meeting between the bank management Association (IBA) on February 21 and the unions but due to the approach of the management and its not coming forward to solve any of the issues, the conciliation meeting did not yield any positive result.
"The unions have been fighting for more than two decades against the reform measures of the government as these are against the interests of the general public and labour force in the country," the AIBEA said.
Hence, he said, CLC advised IBA and Ministry of Finance to initiate the dialogue with the UFBU for amicable settlement of issues so that proposed strike is averted.
Unions are also opposed to the proposed labour reforms of the government and outsourcing of permanent jobs in the banking sector.
Some of the other demands include compensation of employees and officers for extra hours of work put in following demonetisation in November and early initiation of process of next wage revision of bank employees.
They have also demanded adequate recruitment in all cadres, stringent measures to recover bad loans and accountability of top executives. Besides, they have pitched for criminal action against wilful defaulters.
UFBU, which claims membership of nearly 10 lakh people across banks, also requested the government for cost reimbursement for demonetisation to banks.
"The real menace affecting the Indian banking industry is the rise in bad loans and the number of wilful loan defaulters. Fixing accountability for bad loans and taking action against the bank officials and wilful defaulters are the need of the hour and not formation of a 'bad bank'," Venkatachalam told IANS.
The Economic Survey 2016-17 suggested establishment of a "Bad Bank" to deal with the non-performing assets (NPA) or the bad loan issue.
According to Venkatachalam, the idea was nothing but transferring the bad loans from one government entity to another.
As many as 27 public sector banks control 75 per cent of the total business in the country.