Employees threaten flash strike as and when government introduces Banking Law Amendments Bill in Parliament

Banking services across the State remained paralysed for the second consecutive day on Thursday even as the employees and officers unions threatened to go on a flash strike as and when the government introduced the Banking Law Amendments Bill in Parliament.

Clearing and cash operations remained closed in about 5,000 branches of public sector and old generation private banks across the State as close to 85,000 employees including officers kept off duties.

According to estimates, transactions to the tune of Rs. 20,000 crorewere affected by the two-day strike by the employees against the moves to enhance foreign capital in domestic banks from 10 per cent to over 60 per cent.

The strike hit customers while cash transactions took a severe hit as the ATMs of major banks went dry.

Describing the two-day strike as near total, the All India Bank Employees’ Association, however, expressed apprehension that the government could push through the amendments Bill in the ongoing monsoon session taking advantage of the uncertainty gripping several sectors.

The proposed amendments would open gates for foreign investors to enter the boards of major public sector banks which had a cumulative deposit base of Rs. 65 lakh crore.

The association was concerned that giving scope for private players to have a say in the operations of the public sector banks could result in profiteering by the private sector throwing the future of banking into jeopardy. “We will launch an instant strike as and when the government introduces the Bill,” AIBEA State chapter representative B.S. Rambabu said.