New Delhi: People heading to banks on Wednesday may face a harrowing time as over a million employees of nearly 21 public sector banks are on a two-day nationwide strike to press for wage revision.
Withdrawal and cash deposit in the branches of public sector banks are likely to be affected, impacting 75 percent of total business in the country.
Most of the banks, 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 affected in the wake of the strike.
However, the functioning of private banks like ICICI, HDFC, Axis and Kotak Mahindra is expected to be normal except for delays in cheque clearance.
According to National Organisation of Bank Worker's (NOBW) vice president Ashwini Rana, 10 lakh bank employees and officers of the 21 public sector banks, old generation private banks and foreign banks will join the two-day protest.
Bank workers hold protest in Varanasi demanding an immediate wage revision. United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions has called for a 2-day nationwide bank strike against wage hike proposed by the Indian Banks' Association (IBA). pic.twitter.com/5iiktJjH6T— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) May 30, 2018
"All India State Bank Officers' Federation and All India State Bank of India Staff Federation are members of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body which represents nine unions. Thus, it is likely that our bank will also be impacted to some extent by the said strike calls," SBI had said in a regulatory filing.
A nationwide strike has been called by various bank-employee organizations on May 30 and May 31, 2018, which might disrupt the normal banking services at branches of our bank, said Ravindra P Marathe, MD of Bank of Maharashtra.
“Hence, we urge our customers to make the maximum use of digital banking services like UPI, MahaMobile app, internet banking facilities for their transactions. We have ensured that our digital banking systems and ATMs (for those who need cash) are available at all times for the convenience of our customers,” he added.
The officials from the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) stated that they have had several rounds of discussions in respect of wage negotiations in view of the huge non-performing assets or bad loans in the banks, only two percent of wage increase was offered.
Bank unions, however, argued that the wage hike should not be linked to bad loans of banks since it is “not disputed that employees are contributing significantly (towards functioning of banks) through their hard work”.
In the last wage revision in 2012, which was for the period between November 1, 2012, and October 31, 2017, bank employees got a 15 per cent wage hike and AIBOC Joint General Secretary Ravinder Gupta said the unions were expecting a better salary increase this time.
“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,” the strike notice issued by UFBU said.
Another point of contention for the unions was the IBA’s decision to restrict wage negotiations to scale-III officers or up till the senior manager-level. However, bank unions are demanding a wage hike for officers up to scale-VII which will include general managers, deputy general managers, assistant general manager and divisional managers. The Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) told the bank management to consider wage negotiation for these officers too, as has been a practice in the past.
D T Franco, general secretary, All India Bank Officers’ Confederation said about one million bank officers are expected to participate in the strike on May 30 and May 31. During the conciliation proceedings, the bank unions told the CLC that a two per cent wage hike was proposed in a meeting held between bankers (IBA) and unions (UFBU) on May 5, “which was not at all acceptable, considering the rise in cost of living.”