Bank unions call for nationwide strike on 22 August

The All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), a confederation of nine bank unions representing a million employees of public and private sector banks in the country, has called for a nation-wide strike on 22 August to press their various demands.

The strike may impact cash transactions and cheque clearing services at the bank branch levels. However, internet and mobile banking services and ATMs will remain unaffected.

The strike has been called to protest the ongoing mergers and consolidation in the banking sector and government's plans to privatise public sector banks as also moves to write-off non-performing assets (NPAs) in banks, general secretary C H Venkatachalam said in a statement.

The unions demand that wilful default of bank loans be declared as criminal offence and implementation of the recommendations of Parliamentary Committee on recovery of NPAs, among other things.

The demands also include accountability of banks' top management, pension related improvements and adequate recruitment in all cadres.

Venkatachalam claimed that bad loans that were written off by State Bank of India group in the last five years stood at Rs93,041 crore.

While bad loans of SBI Group as a whole stood at Rs27,574 crore as of 2016-17, State Bank of India alone had a share of Rs20,339 crore in the NPA pile,

He said the government is penalising the public for corporate default.

Following the22 August token strike, the unions have planned a massive rally on 15 September and further 2-day strikes in October or November, he said.

The United Forum of Bank Unions is a confederation of nine bank unions, including the AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW, NOBO.