The two-day national strike called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), the umbrella body of nine bank unions – AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW and NOBO. This was done by the employees to register their protest against the Centre’s proposed privatisation and disinvestment plan. The unions have said that the agitation may take a form similar to the farmers’ protests going on since November last year.
The nationwide strike comes in as the after effect of Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement during the budget presentation last month that the government will privatise two more public sector banks after it divested the majority stake in IDBI Bank two years ago.
On the first day of the protest, scores of bank employees took to the streets across several states and raised slogans, including ‘save PSBs’, ‘sustain social banking’ and ‘safeguard people’s savings.’ Nearly a million bank staff joined the protest on Monday, according to union leaders cited by news agency PTI. The strike saw 100% participation from scale I, II, and III bank employees, a bank official told PTI. “These are assistant managers, managers and senior managers. At this level, there is 100 per cent participation in the strike and 80-90 per cent branches are headed by them,” the official said.