New Delhi, 30 May: The two-day nationwide strike by employees of public sector banks (PSBs) is likely to affect customer transactions worth up to Rs 20,000 crore, industry body Assocham said on Wednesday. The industry body also urged the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to call off the strike. The chamber also urged the government to come up with a stimulus plan for restoring the health of public sector banks.

The United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU)(an umbrella body of nine unions) has called nationwide bank strike against meager two per cent wage hike proposed by the Indian Banks’ Association. Several banks including State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Bank of Baroda and others have cautioned that their services would be impacted following the countrywide protest.

State-owned lenders are grappling with high levels of bad loans and as per reports their losses for the quarter ended March 2018 are set to hit a record Rs 50,000 crore which is more than double the losses of Rs 19,000 crore in preceding quarter ended December 2017, Assocham said in a statement.

“Considering such a precarious situation, we at Assocham would urge the government to come up with a stimulus plan which must include restoring the PSBs to health,” Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.

“With about 10 lakh bank employees going on strike, banking operations such as cheque clearances, cash withdrawals and deposits at PSB branches across India will be affected,” he added.

The UFBU, an umbrella body of nine bank unions, has gone on strike against the proposed wage hike of 2 per cent as against 15 per cent given last time, All India Bank Employees Association general secretary C H Venkatachalam said.

Consequently, banking activities in public sector banks across the country have been interrupted. However, operations in the new-generation private banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank were almost normal, barring few activities including cheque clearance. Since the strike coincides with the month-end, salary withdrawals from branches are likely to get affected. Some ATMs may also take a hit. Besides, deposit in branches, FD renewal, government treasury operation, money market operation would see the impact of the strike.

(With agency inputs)