Lakhs of bank employees went on strike on 15th-16th March in protest against the announced privatisation of two public sector banks. Over 10 lakh employees and officers participated in the strike across the country in response to the call given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions of public sector banks in the country. Tens of thousands of striking workers staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital on the second day of the strike.
The 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). Others 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).
The strike crippled banking services across the country with most of the bank branches remaining closed. The services that were impacted include cash withdrawals, deposits, cheque clearances and remittance services.
From Rajasthan to West Bengal and from Punjab to Tamilnadu, the protesting bank employees raised slogans against the announcement to privatise banks. The three main slogans raised during the strike were ‘save Public Sector Banks’, ‘sustain social banking’ and ‘safeguard people’s savings.’
Bank employees of various other big and small cities- Agartala, Chandigarh, Agra, Madurai, Chennai, Muzaffarpur, Gaya, Bhubaneswar, Silchar, Rohtak, Patna etc.-also participated in the strike and raised slogans.
Glimpses of banks strikes across India