Banking services were impacted partially for the second day on Tuesday, as a section of bank employees came in support of the nationwide strike called by central trade unions.
Transactions at many public sector banks were impacted as employees did not report for duty. Besides, there were delays in cheque clearances and government treasury operations were also affected due to the strike.
"As per our reports, in the Southern Grid functioning in Chennai, during our strike yesterday and today, about 6 lakh cheques/instruments worth about Rs 5,000 crore could not be sent for clearance as branches did not function due to the strike," All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam said.
At the national level, about 20 lakh cheques worth about Rs 18,000 crore could not be cleared, he claimed.
Bank unions are protesting against the government's move to privatise two public sector banks as announced in the Budget for 2021-22. They are also demanding an increase in the interest rate on deposits and a reduction in service charges.
Besides AIBEA, the Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA) are also part of the two-day strike call given by the joint forum of central trade unions and various sectoral independent trade unions to protest against government's alleged anti-people economic policies and anti-worker labour policies.
All Indian Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), among others, are demanding the scrapping of the proposed changes in labour laws and privatisation in any form.
Increased allocation of wages under MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act) and regularisation of contract workers are also part of their demands.
Most of the banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI), had informed their customers about the proposed strike and its likely impact on the services in advance.