The two-day strike by over 10 lakh bank employees to protest against a “meagre 2 per cent” salary hike proposed by the Indian Banks Association (IBA) disrupted banking operations across the country for the second day on Thursday.
Cash deposits, FD renewals, government treasury and money market operations were disrupted in many parts of the country. There were reports of ATMs running dry in several towns. The United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), which had called the strike, claimed that nearly 80 lakh cheques in various public sector banks, old generation private sector banks, foreign and regional rural banks remain uncleared. UFBU, an umbrella organisation of 9 bank staff unions, also claimed that the strike was a “total success” as the employees “enthusiastically participated in the strike in all banks and in all branches”.
According to reports from various centres like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Patna, Nagpur, Jammu, Guwahati, Jamshedpur, Lucknow, Agra, Ambala, and Trivandrum, employees participated in the strike in all banks and branches, unions claimed. There are about 85,000 branches of 21 public sector banks across the country having business share of about 70 per cent.
However, operations in the new-generation private banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were almost normal, barring few activities including cheque clearance.
All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam said during the discussions, the IBA offered an increase of 2 per cent over the total wage bill of the Banks as on 31-3-2017. Under the last 10th Bipartite Wage Settlement that was made effective from 1-11-2012, IBA had agreed for a hike of 15 per cent increase over the total wage Bill, he said.
Harvinder Singh, general secretary of India Bank Officers’ Confederation, said, “All old generation private sector banks are also under our fold including those in South India like the Federal Bank, Catholic Syrian Bank, South Indian Bank.”