Days before the Union Budget, banking services across India are likely to be affected if the several bank employees' unions go ahead with their proposed two-day bank strike starting 31st Jan. As the succeeding day after the 2 day period would be Sunday, customers many face major issues. Notably, thousands of banking employees have been demanding for a pay hike since November 2017 but received sold response from the government. In total nine bank unions have joined hands under United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to sit on the two-day strike.

Interestingly, the bank strike would coincide with the opening of the Budget session of the Parliament from January 31 when the Economic Survey would be published by the Ministry of Finance. On 1st February, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman would present the Union Budget for FY21.

Bank merger protest
Employees of Allahabad Bank stage a demonstration against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala SitharamanIANS

ATM may run out of cash

ATM in crowded areas may face a shortage of cash given the three-day duration of suspension of banking services. Similarly, the customers will not be able to withdraw cash, request demand draft form their respective banks. In particular, the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) will be affected for a period of three days. The customer will be able to make a request for National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) and Real-time gross settlement (RTGS) transfers but it will be cleared on the 2nd February after the resumption of normal banking services. However, the customers can avail Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) services as usual during the three day period.

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A man inserts his card to withdraw money from a mobile bank ATM machine in New Delhi .CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

Bone of contention: Pay hike

It's been more than two years that the bank unions are demanding a 20% pay hike on payslip components but the management has refused to give a hike beyond 12.25%. Moreover, the unions have other demand which includes 5-day work week, the merger of special allowance with basic pay, scrapping of the new pension scheme, etc. In fact, if the stalemate remains, the unions have called for a strike in March as well. As per strike and holidays including, the banks may remain shut for at least 8 days in March.