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2nd strike in a week cripples banking services

2nd strike in a week cripples banking services
Highlights

Banking services were affected on Wednesday after close to 1 million workers of all staterun, oldgeneration private sector and some foreign banks went...

Mumbai: Banking services were affected on Wednesday after close to 1 million workers of all state-run, old-generation private sector and some foreign banks went on a one-day strike opposing merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with stronger peer Bank of Baroda.

The day-long strike, called by the United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella body of nine unions, including the All-India Bank Officers Confederation, the All-India Bank Employees Association and the National Organisation of Bank Workers, among others, was the second nation-wide strike within a week. An officer’s union of state-run banks went on a strike last on Friday as well demanding immediate salary hikes and opposing merger of the above-cited public sector lenders.

The unions on Wednesday claimed that banking services, including deposits and withdrawal at branches, cheque clearances and issuance of demand drafts, among others, were affected across the country due to the strike. In Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat alone, cheques worth Rs 2 trillion were held up, a union official claimed. Meanwhile, reports from Indore, quoting the United Forum of Bank Unions' MP unit coordinator MK Shukla, said services at about 7,000 branches of state-owned banks were impacted in Madhya Pradesh due to the strike.

He claimed that the services at some private sector lenders also got affected. Senior bankers, however, claimed that most operations were normal. "We had deployed senior officials at all cheque clearing centers so that our customers are not affected. All other operations like treasury were also functioning," said a senior official from a state-run bank.

Unions are claiming that the merging Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda is not in the interest of the banks or their customers' but in fact is detrimental to both. In September, government announced merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda.

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