However, private sector banks such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were functioning normally as their staffs are not on strike. (Agencies)
Employees are compelled to take this route as the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) did not come up with an improved wage offer, United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) convener MV Murali said. The IBA represents bank managements.
Several banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI) had informed the customers in advance about the likely inconvenience they would face during the strike.
The unions had rejected the IBA's offer of a 10 percent wage hike during a conciliation meeting held on February 6 with the Chief Labour Commissioner.
The offer made by bank managements was not in line with rising inflation, general secretary of National Organization of Bank Workers Ashwini Rana said.
The staff of public sector banks had gone on a nationwide strike for a day on December 18 after discussions with the IBA on wages on December 14 failed. The wage revision of public sector bank employees has been due since November 2012.
UFBU is an umbrella organization of nine bank employee and officer unions.
There are 27 public sector banks in the country with combined employee strength of around eight lakh.
There are about 50,000 branches of these banks across the country.
Two-day bank strike cripples Mumbai
The country's financial capital Mumbai on Monday woke up to a two-day long total banking sector strike which has crippled most business and commercial activities.
All branches of public sector banks, private banks, many foreign banks in the city, and the regional rural bank branches were deserted.
According to the United Forum of Bank Unions (UBFU), which is spearheading the agitation, the strike which started on Monday 6 am will end on Wednesday 6 am.
"The strike is total. Over a million employees in all these banks, barring the co-operative sector banks, are taking part with around 90,000 bank branches to remain shut for two days for our various demands," All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) vice-president Vishwas Utagi said.
As many as 27 public sector banks, 18 private banks, eight foreign banks and 48 Regional Rural Banks across India have joined the strike call by the UBFU, an umbrella organization with top bank employees and officers unions under its fold.
Utagi said that besides the pending issue of wage revisions, the UBFU is also opposing banking reforms like privatization of banks, mergers, issuing new bank licenses to corporate houses, rising non-performing assets and related aspects.
The UBFU includes AIBEA, National Confederation of Bank Employees, Bank Employees Federation of India, Indian National Bank Employees Federation, Indian National Bank Officers Congress, National Organization of Bank Workers, All India Bank Officers Association, and National Organization of Bank Officers.
Utagi said that the UBFU had gone on a strike on December 18, 2013 for similar reasons.
However, private sector banks such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were functioning normally as their staffs are not on strike.