Jamshedpur, July 29: Banking sector in the steel city was badly affected today as around 3,000 employees of 110 branches of various public sector banks joined the nationwide strike on Friday to protest against the Union government’s new reforms in banking policies.
The strike call was given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella outfit of nine bank unions over Central government’s decision to merge State Bank of India’s (SBI) five associate banks with the former and privatization of IDBI Bank by reducing the government capital leading to less than 49 percent.
The union also demanded that deliberate defaulters should be declared as criminal offenders.
All the branches of 28 public sector banks downed shutters in the steel city in response. Private banks like ICICI, HDFC, Axis and Yes Bank however remain opened.
The cash in ATMs of several public sector banks got exhausted by noon due putting in trouble several customers who either failed to withdraw money or had to travel long to reach a private bank ATM for withdrawing money on Friday. Several ATMs ran out of cash causing hardship to common-man.
Although the new-generation private sector banks like HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank functioned normally, clearing and fund transfer operations suffered on account of the strike.
Normal banking operations, including cash transactions, cheque clearances, and foreign exchange dealings were affected. The ATMs, which functioned normally on the first day of the strike, ran out of cash today hampering day-to-day activities.
“The strike was successful as all members went on protest on a wage cut. Government should come forward and discuss with us.
The unions will be meeting shortly to talk on future course of action,” said an official.
Unions are protesting against reform measures such as the Banking Sector Laws Amendment Bill, which seeks to remove restrictions on voting rights of foreign shareholders and increase voting rights of private investors in the PSBs.