Two-day bank strike begins; ATMs too may go dry soon

Hyderabad, May 30 : With the banking operations coming to a standstill for two days on Wednesday and Thursday with over one million employees striking work, the citizens made a beeline to the ATMs for their cash requirements leading to the ATMs too going dry within a short time.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has called for a two-day strike starting from Wednesday after the bank unions rejected the offer of two percent wage hike despite several rounds of negotiations and talks. The revision of wages for bank employees is stated to be due since November 1, 2017. The UFBU leaders said despite 12 rounds of negotiations and several reminders for the past two years, the Indian Banks Association has failed to conclude the wage settlement. They said the IBA’s two percent hike was very meager and unacceptable and hence the banking employees were forced to strike work.

Since the strike has begun during the month end, salary withdrawals are likely to be affected. Even it would have a big impact on ATM transactions. Besides deposit in branches, FGD renewals, government treasury operations, money market operations would be affected by the strike. Online banking operations however remained unaffected.

Most of the banks like the SBI, PNB and BoB learnt to have forewarned their customers in advance about the proposed strike by the employees. While the strike in all the public sector banks is complete and successful, private banks like ICICI, HDFC, Axis and so on have been functioning though with some initial hiccups in cheque clearances. The bank’ shut down has forced the citizens to depend on ATMs for their immediate cash requirements. This led to a heavy rush at the ATMs and in many places they too went dry.

Though the bank authorities had earlier assured that the required cash would be made available in the ATMs by replenishing them whenever necessary, this too seem to have been found wanting as even the security guards at the ATMs have joined the strike. The striking bank employees in the twin cities staged a dharna and protest meeting at the SBI in Koti this morning. (NSS)

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