Four unions of officers of public sector banks (PSBs) have threatened to go on a two-day strike from 26 September to protest against the merging of ten state-run lenders into four entities, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 30 August.
The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) has informed the State Bank of India (SBI) that four unions of bank employees — the All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA), Indian National Bank Officers' Congress (INBOC) and National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO) — have given a call for an all-lndia strike on 26 and 27 September.
If the strike does take place, banking operations could be hit, the SBI has warned.
“While the bank has made all arrangements to ensure normal functioning in its branches and offices, it is likely that work in our bank may be impacted to some extent by the strike,” the bank said in a regulatory filing.
Banks will also be closed on 28 September, according to Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules which state that second and fourth Saturdays are public holidays for banks. As 28 September is the fourth Saturday of the month, banking services are likely to be affected for a total of four days.
Here's how customers can prepare themselves for the strike:
As banking services at bank branches like cash withdrawals and deposits, cheque clearances and issuance of demand drafts are set to be affected, financial advisors have advised customers to work out cash flows and withdraw, deposit cash on or before 25 September. Customers should also be prepared for a delay in clearing of cheques and make adequate arrangements.
Inter and intra-bank transfers through the NEFT, RTGS services are unlikely to be affected, However, these services are suspended on second and fourth Saturdays and hence, customers should use UPI/IMPS to make fund transfers.
ATM services are also likely to be affected during the strike, and hence customers should withdraw cash in advance or keep credit/debit card details handy for online transactions. Alternatively, customers can also use digital wallets like Paytm, Mobikwik to make payments.
In the biggest consolidation exercise in the banking space, the government on 30 August announced four major mergers of PSBs, bringing down their total number to 12 from 19 in 2017, a move aimed at making state-owned lenders global-sized banks.
According to the consolidation exercise, United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce are to be merged with Punjab National Bank, making the proposed entity the second largest public sector bank. Syndicate Bank is to be merged with Canara Bank, while Allahabad Bank will be merged with Indian Bank. Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will amalgamate with the Union Bank of India.
Earlier this year, Bank of Baroda merged Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with itself to become the second largest public sector lender.
SBI had merged five of its associate banks - State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Hyderabad and also Bhartiya Mahila Bank effective April 2017.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Sep 17, 2019 20:10:17 IST