Banking services will be affected across India as several bank employees’ unions have called for a two-day bank strike from Friday as talks with management of public sector lenders on wage revision have failed to reach a consensus. The banks will be closed for the three days as bank unions have announced that they would sit on strike on Friday and Saturday.
Services will especially be hit in state-owned banks. Many banks, including the State Bank of India (SBI), have informed customers that operations may be impacted to some extent due to the strike.
The bank trike will coincide with the beginning of the Budget session of parliament and presentation of union Budget 2020-21 and the Economic Survey.
The call for the strike has been given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, including All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW).
Earlier this week, a meeting with the Chief Labour Commissioner remained inconclusive, AIBOC President Sunil Kumar said.
The wage revision for employees of public sector banks is pending since November 2017.
Apart from the scrapping of the new pension scheme, demands from the Bank unions include 20 per cent pay hike on payslip components, 5-day work week and merger of special allowance with basic pay.
The Bank employees have been waiting for a hike in wage since November 2017 are likely to join the protest.
“Today’s talks with Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) failed on demand from unions, so strike call stands,” AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said.
IBA’s rigid approach has left unions with no option than to go on strike, Vekatachalam said, adding, “We appeal to the banking customers to bear with us for this disruption in services due to the strike but the same has been forced on us by the bank managements and IBA.”
In a circular, UFBU accused the IBA of a rigid approach towards demands for a fair wage revision settlement.
A meeting of UFBU held at Mumbai on January 13 came to the unanimous conclusion that intensified agitational actions have to be taken to press our demands, NOBW Vice President Ashwini Rana said.
During the recent period, prices have gone up steeply and the workload on the banking workforce has also gone up enormously, UFBU said, adding that bank staffers expect a fair and reasonable hike in wages in the current settlement.
Unions are demanding 20 per cent hike on pay slip components with adequate loading.
In the past wage settlement, which was for the period November 1, 2012, to October 31, 2017, the employees got a hike of 15 per cent.
A section of bank employees had gone on a day-long strike on January 8 in support of 10 major trade unions’ protest call against the government’s “anti-people” policies.