Banking services in Manipur were hit on Monday as employees of various public sector banks have gone on strike, joining the nationwide protest against the Central government’s move to privatise public sector banks.
Employees of the public sector banks in the state joined the two-day nationwide strike initiated by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU). The Manipur state branch of the UFBU on March 10 announced that the forum will go on a two-day strike in support of the UFBU.
Joining the strike, employees of various public sector banks staged a protest in front of SBI Imphal branch at MG Avenue. At the protest site, various banners with slogans like “To protect nationalised banks is real patriotism. It is our patriotic duty to preserve national pride.”
Participating in the protest, president of UFBU Manipur state, Soram Bijoy Singh said that the privatisation of the public sector banks was unwarranted, unjustified and a regressive step. Once the public sector banks were privatised, various benefits being obtained by the different sections of people, particularly farmers and students will be curtained, he said. “We aren’t happy with the government’s plans to divest stake in public sector banks,” he said.
He then alleged that instead of strengthening the public sector banks, the Central government is trying to privatise them only to weaken the banks further. Bijoy further alleged that the privatisation move would starve the public sector banks of the required capital, human resources, through disinvestment and proposed privatisation. He added that the Central government’s move was at a time UFBU has been demanding strengthening public sector banks.
He then said that the forum took the move of the Central government seriously and will oppose it tooth and nails.
“If the Central government goes ahead with the plan even after the two-day nationwide strike, the forum has plans to undergo various forms of agitations”, he asserted.
At the same time, Bijoy said that the other objective of the proposed strike of the bank unions is to create awareness to the people and bank customers on the possible difficulties they are likely to face because of the government policy.
He, then, sought the support of the people, particularly bank customers to the proposed two-day nationwide strike.