Bank staff threaten nationwide stir from tomorrow

Commercial activities across the country are likely to take a hit from Wednesday, as employees of virtually all banks are planning a two-day strike starting Wednesday to protest the proposed reforms in the banking sector and outsourcing of jobs, among other things.

Over a million employees and officers from around 47 banks – 27 public sector banks, 12 old generation private banks and eight foreign banks – will take part in the strike, said All India Bank Employees Association secretary Vishwas Utagi.

The move was confirmed by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), the umbrella organisation of five employee unions and four officer unions of state-run banks.

Among other things, the bank employees will protest the government's proposal to amend the banking laws bill, currently pending before parliament and scheduled for discussions on 23 and 24 August, Utagi said in a statement from Mumbai.

''The proposed banking law amendments proposing to adversely amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, and Banking Companies' Acquisition & Transfer of Undertakings Act, aimed at merger of banks, allowing private and foreign capital in banks, unrestricted voting rights and granting licences to corporate business houses to start new banks, are aimed at handing over the Indian private sector banking to multinational banks and increasing the presence of Indian corporate and foreign direct investment in public sector banks,'' the statement said.

The outcome of these proposed measures would be closure of rural bank branches, resorting to a large number of ultra-small branches, thereby privatising rural banking operations through contractual businesses, it claimed.