Because of the strike, normal banking services were largely hit. Clearing operations were affected because branches were closed and cheques could not be accepted and sent for clearance. Cash transactions were also affected because branches remained closed. Government treasury operations, import and export bill negotiations, money market operations, etc. were also affected. About 30 lacs of cheques worth about Rs. 23,000 crores are reported to be held up without clearance due to the strike.
Our intention is not to disrupt banking services. But, through the strike, we wanted to draw the attention of the people and Parliament which is in session to understand the implications of the unwanted merger of Banks. Despite our pleas, the Government was taking steps to proceed with the merger. Hence this strike was forced on us.
Government wants to divert nation’s attention from the increasing bad loans. We want Government to take tough action to recover bad loans. If loans are recovered, all Banks will be more profitable. Already all the 21 Govt. Banks are in Operating Profit (Rs. 1,55,000 crores as on 31-3-2018). Only because of provisions for bad loans (Rs. 2,30,000 crores), the Banks are in net loss of Rs. 85,000 crores. Govt. should review their policy.
Already we have the experience of merger of 6 Banks with SBI in April, 2017. After that merger, SBI has closed down 6950 Branches according to the written reply given in Parliament on 21-12-2018 by Sri Shiv Pratap Shukla, Minister of State for Finance.
In these 3 Banks, BOB, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank, there are 9000 branches. It is certain that large number of branches will be closed after this proposed merger. India wants more branches. When ATMs are getting closed in large number, if branches are also closed, banking public will find it extremely difficult to doing their banking business.
It is obvious that if Banks are merged, branches will be closed and employees would become surplus. On the one hand, this will drastically reduce fresh employment of young educated youth who are desperately in search of jobs and on the other hand, it would also sharply reduce the promotions and career of the young employee working in the Banks who have joined the Banks with the lot of hopes and aspirations to make a better career in the Banks.
Looking from any angle, mergers are unwarranted. By this massive strike, bank employees have conveyed their strong note of caution to the Government. Some political parties have extended their support. We hope that this strike would help in enlarging political support.
We thank all the bank employees for their support to the strike. We regret the inconvenience caused to the general public due to this strike but the strike became unavoidable because the Government did not respond to our strike notice to discuss the issue.
We hope atleast now the Government would see reason and review their decision.
Once again we convey our salute to all our members.