MUMBAI, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Banking operations in India were partially affected on Tuesday following the one-day strike called by two employee unions to protest the merger of the government-owned lenders.
Around 300,000 bank employees across the country participated in the protest that affected cheque clearances among other banking operations, said an official from the All India Bank Employees Association which along with Bank Employees Federation of India had called the strike.
Protesting against the government's policy of consolidation, Devidas Tuljapurkar, senior leader from All India Banks Employees Association said "government has declared consolidation of 10 public sector banks by closing six public sector banks which was neither demanded by the customers, shareholders nor by the employees and officers."
In the process, Indian government is likely to close around 5,000 bank branches to enable small finance banks from the private sector to occupy this space and privatize banking operations, he said.
Several state-run banks like the Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, Syndicate Bank and the Oriental Bank of Commerce had informed the stock exchanges that the proposed strike may impact their operations.
In August, the Indian government proposed to merge 10 public sector banks into four to create fewer and stronger global sized lenders to address the country's ailing growth which has dropped to a six-year low.