A two-day nationwide walkout has been announced by the United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella group of nine unions, in protest of the government’s proposal to privatise public sector banks on December 16 and 17. In the Winter Session of Parliament, the national government will introduce the Banking Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021.
The Bill’s goal is to privatise two public sector banks, and adjustments to the Banking Companies (Acquisition and Transfer of Undertakings) Acts of 1970 and 1980, as well as incidental amendments to the Banking Regulation Act of 1949, are required.
While presenting the Budget for 2021-22, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the privatisation of PSBs as part of a disinvestment campaign to raise $1.75 lakh crore. Mahesh Mishra, the convener of the United Forum of Bank Unions, said on Thursday that the government hopes to approve the Banking Reforms Bill in this session of Parliament, clearing the way for privatisation.
In a statement, he added that as part of the action, the United Forum will organise a sit-in against the Bill commencing on Friday (December 3), and a two-day nationwide strike will be held on December 16 and 17 in protest of the Bill.
Bank unions, according to Mishra, favour policies that promote the country’s economic development, as well as employee and customer-friendly banking policies, but not bank privatisation.