Employees of the public sector banks kicked off a two-day (30-31 May) nationwide strike on Wednesday.

The strike has been called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to protest against a ‘meagre’ 2 per cent salary hike proposed by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).

The UFBU is a parent body of bank unions including National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI).

“It is kind of an insult to the employees of public sector banks…to be offered this kind of meagre hike. We had no other option but to go on strike, forgoing two days’ salary,” said All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) joint general secretary Ravinder Gupta.

Following the strike, banking activities in public sector banks across the country have been interrupted.

Since the strike coincides with the month-end, salary withdrawals from branches are likely to get affected and some ATMs may also take a hit.

According to media reports, ATMs will be replenished before the strike, but it is not certain that the ATMs will be filled again with cash by private service providers during the strike.

The employees have been demanding a decent increase in salary and improvement in other service conditions and wage revision settlement for all officers up to scale VII along with early wage review settlement.

To some relief of the people, online bank operations will remain fully functional.

Besides, deposit in branches, FD renewal, government treasury operation, money market operation would see the impact of the strike.

There are about 85,000 branches of 21 public sector banks across the country having business share of about 70 per cent. Most of the banks, including SBI, PNB and BoB, have already informed their customers about functioning of branches and offices due to strike.