Bank unions All India Bank Employee’s Association and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) have called for a two-day nationwide strike today and tomorrow (January 8 and 9, 2019), in support of the general strike called by 10 Trade unions against the anti-worker policies of the government. All India Insurance Employees Association (AIIEA), General Insurance Employees All India Association (GIEAIA) and All India LIC Employees Federation (AILICEF) have also joined BEFI in this strike. This is the fourth strike called by bank unions in one month, last one on December 21 and 26, 2018, where close to a million employees observed strike against the proposed merger of Vijaya Bank, Dena Bank, and Bank of Baroda.

The unions have demanded to protect Public Sector Banks (PSBs) against privatisation, recover large corporate loans, stop neo-liberal banking reforms, stop mergers, prevent outsourcing of regular banking jobs, and to increase recruitment in all banks. We stand in solidarity with the bank unions in their strike.

In the last five years, the banking sector is facing a serious crisis due to bad corporate loans. Instead of addressing the problem by focusing on recovery and take strict action against the defaulters, the government and RBI have been keener in implementing the neo-liberal banking reforms. In the name of curbing NPA, banks have been forced to take haircuts, put under Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) that prevents banks from lending, threatened to be merged or liquidated through the failed FRDI Bill. Without any concrete measures to overcome their loss and without adequate recapitalisation the banks are forced to pass on the burden to customers through increased bank charges.

The standing committee on finance in a recent report noted that 95% of the GM level employees, 75% of the Deputy GM level employees, and 58% of Additional GM level employees are going to retire by 2019-20. This would additionally cause a massive human resource crisis with a decade of under-recruitment in Banks. Instead of strengthening the banks, there seems to be a trend of outsourcing even regular banking jobs to contract or informal sources. While core banking has suffered in the last few years, bankers are burdened with non-banking activities like cross-selling third-party products etc. Unless the demands of the bank unions are met and the government and RBI correct their course, the Indian Banking Sector and the economy at large will be put under further stress.

We stand in solidarity with the Bank Unions in their struggle to protect the public sector banks and their demands. Further, we also demand:

  1. To make wilful default criminal offence
  2. To put in place adequate due diligence for large scale loans
  3. To include social and environmental safeguard policies for the investments of banks
  4. Withdraw all bank charges on banking services

Endorsed by:

  1. Indian Social Action Forum, New Delhi
  2. Vidya Dinker, Karavali Karnataka Janabhivriddhi Vedike, Karnataka
  3. Delhi Solidarity Group, Delhi
  4. Bharat Patel Machimar Adhikar Sangarsh Sangathan, Gujarat
  5. Maglin Philomin, Theeradesa Vanitha Federation, Kerala
  6. Awadhesh Kumar, Srijan Lokhit Samiti, Madhya Pradesh
  7. Rajkumar Sinha, Bhargi Band Vistapit Sangh, Madhya Pradesh
  8. Vimalbhai, Matu Jan Sangathan, Uttarakhand
  9. Nishant, People’s Resource Centre, Delhi
  10. Benny Kuruvilla, Researcher, Karnataka
  11. Prof C.P. Chandrashekar, JNU, Delhi
  12. Anil T Varghese, Delhi Forum, Delhi
  13. Centre for Financial Accountability, Delhi
  14. Sreedhar Ramamurthy, ENVIRONICS Trust, New Delhi
  15. Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group, Karnataka
  16. Prafulla Samanthara, Lok Shakti Abhiyan, Odisha
  17. Rakesh Diwan, Hum Sab, Madhya Pradesh
  18. Umesh Tiwari, Roko Toko Thoko Abhiyaan, Madhya Pradesh
  19. Rajendra Ravi, Institute for Democracy and Sustainability, New Delhi
  20. Sunita Rani, Domestic Workers’ Union, New Delhi
  21. Ram Wangkheirakpam, Indigenous Perspectives, Manipur
  22. Ravi Rebbapragada, Samata, Andhra Pradesh
  23. Nityanand Jayaraman, Vettiver Collective, Tamil Nadu
  24. Soumya Dutta, Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha,
  25. Beyond Copenhagen Collective / MAUSAM, New Delhi
  26. Equations, Karnataka


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