Banks on two-day strike; banking transactions may take a toll

Banks on two-day strike; banking transactions may take a toll

New Delhi: Banking transactions may take a toll as almost all the Public Sector Banks are on a two-day strike from today. The United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), a body of nine bank unions has called for a nationwide bank strike against wage hike proposed by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). The bank unions have been pressing for various demands, including wage revision in the wake of the proposal for a 2 per cent hike in salary.

Major PSBs including State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of Baroda (BoB) have already informed their customers that functioning of branches and offices will be impacted if the strike takes off. Though, it is expected that the private banks would continue to operate normally except for delays in cheque clearance. There are as many as 21 public sector banks control 75 per cent of the total business in the country.

Reportedly, the ATM security guards are also likely to participate in the protest. And with protest dates coinciding with the end of the month, salary withdrawals may get affected too.

Since the bank protest dates coincides with the month end, salary withdrawals are likely to get affected. ATM transactions may also take a hit. Besides, deposit in branches, FD renewal, government treasury operation, money market operation would see the impact of the strike. Online banking operations, however, will be available at all times.

Early wage review settlement, sufficient increase in salary and improvement in other service condtions and wage revision settlement for all officers up to scale VII has been demanded by the UFBU. Siddhartha Khan, West Bengal Convenor of UFBU said that employees received a wage rise of 15 percent in the last wage revision in 2012.

Ravinder Gupta, Joint General Secretary of All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) said, “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.”

Bank union leader Ashok Gupta said that bank unions are not ready to accept a wage hike below 14-15 per cent. The Indian Banks’ Association has refused to discuss their demands, he said.

The latest round of wage revision for all banks is due from November 1, 2017.

On May 5, the Indian Banks’ Association offered 2 per cent hike which was rejected by unions calling it unjust. The Association refused to revise wages for all officers citing poor financial condition of banks. Large public sector banks had reported huge losses in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2018 owing to mounting bad loans.