Around 10 lakh bank employees went on a two-day strike from Wednesday as the conciliation efforts by the government failed to convince bank unions to call off the stir against the proposed low wage hike. The call for the strike has interrupted the banking services across the country.
As several rounds of talks between banks and the unions did not make any headway, the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, has gone on strike against the proposed wage hike of 2 per cent as against 15 per cent given last time, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), general secretary C H Venkatachalam said.
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.
Bank strike highlights: Follow all the latest developments here
Besides, deposit in branches, FD renewal, government treasury operation, money market operation would see the impact of the strike.
Bank strike: ATM services may be hit
Since the strike coincides with the month-end, salary withdrawals from branches are likely to get affected. Some ATMs may also take a hit.
“The volume of business and the volume of work of the employees and officers have gone up enormously in the recent years. In addition, bank employees and officers are compelled to undertake so much of non-banking business and all the burden of doing various government schemes have fallen on the shoulders of the bank staff,” UFBU, the umbrella body which represents nine unions, had said.
While Additional Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) met the bank unions, under the banner of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), finance ministry officials and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA), talks to avert the strike failed.
A recent report mentioned that banks’ NPAs have shot up 46.70 per cent to Rs 8,40,868 crore as of March 2018. Six PSU banks made a loss of Rs 6,626 crore in the March quarter.
Several banks, including SBI, Bank of Baroda and Canara Bank, had already cautioned that their services and normal banking operations would be impacted by the strike. Those whose accounts are with ICICI, HDFC, Axis, YES Bank and IndusInd are not impacted by the strike as they have no trade unions. In the last wage settlement, for the period November 2012 to October 2017, IBA had given a wage hike of 15 per cent.
The All India Bank Employees Association, a body of over 10 lakh bankers in government and private lenders, demanded early revision of the wages which is due since November 1, 2017.
The unions want a wage revision for all bank officers offering an increase in salary and improvement in other service conditions. Banks have proposed a 2 per cent wage hike which the unions are opposed to. As part of the last wage revision, bank employees got a 15 per cent hike.
Bank strike at PNB Bank Fort, Mumbai. (Express photos by Ganesh Shirsekar)
For those who don't know, on May 5, the Indian Banks' Association had 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.
ATMs run out of cash in Moradabad
As 2-day banks strike called by United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU) over wage revision begins, ATMs run out of cash in Moradabad. Locals say, "We are facing problems because there is no cash in the ATMs around. Even there are connectivity issues." pic.twitter.com/wzpfcaUsBf— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 30, 2018
Visuals of bank workers holding protest in Kolkata
Visuals of closed ATMs in Kolkata
Closed ATM adjacent to Kolkata municipal corporation head office in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Express photos by Partha Paul)
ATM machines loaded with extra cash to avoid cash crunch
With bank branches closed for two days, the ATM machines are being loaded with additional cash to meet any contingency.
"The private banks (like HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank) are working and there is no problem there. In the case of public sector banks the strike call was known well ahead. So, we have collected cash in advance from the banks for loading in the ATMs," V. Balasubramanian, President, Financial Software and Systems (FSS), told IANS.
Banking services in Maharashtra hit hard as 60,000 employees go on strike
Banking services in Maharashtra are crippled as nearly 60,000 employees of various banks went on a two-day nationwide strike from today. "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 said. 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.
The protesting bank employees and officers have also organised a rally in the Fort area of south Mumbai.
Most of the banks, including SBI, PNB and BoB, have already informed their customers about the functioning of branches and offices due to strike, reports PTI.
Visuals of bank employees protesting in Chandigarh
Bank Union members during protesting at Bank square in Sector 17, Chandigarh on Wednesday. (Express photos by Sahil Walia)
Operations in the new-generation private banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank are 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 would see the impact of the strike.
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