New Delhi: Banking operations may witness a standstill and ATMs may run dry on Saturday, February 1, as nearly 10 lakh public sector unit (PSU) bankers continue their nationwide strike spanned over three days to protest the Centre’s wage revision. Interestingly, the protest coincides with the crucial Union Budget session 2020-21 which is scheduled to begin at 11 AM.

Bankers had also led strikes in various parts of the country on Friday alongside the presentation of the Economic Survey, and services impacted – like cash deposit, withdrawal, cheque clearances, instrument issuance and loan disbursement operations – are likely to resume after Sunday, the last day of the strike. Salaried employees must note that they may witness a delay in receiving their salary.

Operations have already been massively affected across West Bengal on day one of the nationwide strike and ATMs in most localities were shut. However, there no reports of violence or breach of peace.

Meanwhile, services at privately operated banks like HDFC and ICICI Bank are expected to be operational. However, online operations of all banks will remain functional for the convenience of the customers.

The strike was organised by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBA), an umbrella body representing nine trade unions, as it saw no progress in the wage revisions requested in talks with the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). Many PSB workers have been demanding a salary hike since November 2017. According to the protestors, the last wage revision took place during the period November 1, 2012, to October 31, 2017.

IBA’s rigid approach has left unions with no option than to go on strike, said AIBEA General Secretary CH Venkatachalam, adding, “We appeal to the banking customers to bear with us for this disruption in services due to the strike but the same has been forced on us by the bank managements and IBA.”

Earlier this month, scores of bank employees had joined as 10 trade unions decided to spearhead a Bharat Bandh against the Modi-led central government’s “anti-people” policies.