2-Day Bank Strike May Hit Salary Withdrawals, ATM Services

IBA proposed a 2% revision in wages for employees of public sector banks, which the unions had refused to accept.

3 min read
Image of a closed bank used for representational purposes.

Banking activities in public sector banks across the country have been interrupted as employees go on two-day nation-wide strike against the meagre 2 percent salary hike.

However, operations in 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 will see the impact of the strike. "Bank employees are on strike to demand an adequate wage revision to all employees and officers," United Forum of Bank Unions convenor (Maharashtra) Devidas Tuljapurkar told PTI.

Around 60,000 bank employees and officers in Maharashtra, including 25,000 bank employees and officers in Mumbai, are on strike, he claimed, adding that nearly 12,000 bank branches in the state are shut.

Why Has the Strike Been Called?

The strike has been called by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) which is an umbrella body of nine unions, including All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), AIBEA and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW).

During the negotiations held on 5 May, the Indian Banks’Association (IBA) made two “unacceptable” propositions including an offer of 2 percent hike in the wage bill cost as on 31 March 2017, the UFBU said in a statement. Besides, it adamantly maintained that the negotiations on officers demands would be restricted up to Scale III only, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary CH Vekatachalam told PTI.

The IBA has proposed a two percent revision in wages for employees of public sector banks, which the unions had refused to accept.

What do the Associations Say?

AIBOC joint general secretary Ravinder Gupta also questioned the rationale of this meagre hike at a time when inflation is uncontrolled. “When prices go up unabated, can wages be depressed. Is it fair to deny reasonable wage increase,” Gupta told PTI.

NOBW Vice President Ashwani Rana told PTI unions also demanded that all scales or grades of officers should be included in the wage revision as has been the practice since 1979. Unions also demanded that as advised by the government, the IBA should complete the process without further delay, Rana said.

Vekatachalam said the government is also aware that despite their repeated letters, there is no progress in the negotiations and no offer was made to the Unions till the meeting held on 5 May. This shows that the government is also not serious about early wage settlement in the banks, he said.

“It is unfortunate that when the government wants and expects bank employees and officers to extend all co-operation to implement all the schemes of the government through the banks, when it comes to the legitimate demands for a reasonable and fair increase in wages, the government is not paying serious attention,” he said.

West Bengal convenor of UFBU, Siddhartha Khan, told PTI that in the last wage revision in 2012, employees had received a wage rise of 15 percent. Khan also said that the RBI should publish the list of wilful defaulters and conduct forensic audit of stressed assets.

(With inputs from PTI)

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