New Delhi, May 30, 2018: Banking operations could be hit as employees of public sector banks go on a two-day nationwide strike starting from today.
Since the bank protest dates coincides with the month end, salary withdrawals are likely to get affected. ATM transactions may also take a hit. Online banking operations, however, will be available at all times.
The bank strike comes after a two per cent salary hike failed to convince the bank unions and several rounds of talks between banks and the unions of their employees did not make any headway.
Following this, the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, called for a nationwide bank strike against wage hike proposed by the Indian Banks’ Association.
Vice-President of National Organisation of Bank Workers, Ashwani Rana, told ANI, "On May 30-31, around 10 lakh bank employees all over India will be on strike over the issue of wage revision."
ATM security guards are also likely to participate in the bank strike.
The United Forum of Banking Unions has demanded early wage review settlement, sufficient increase in salary, improvement in other service conditions and wage revision settlement for all officers up to scale VII.
The Chief Labour Commissioner supported the issues and asked Indian Banks’ Association to respond positively. He had also said that officers and employees have to be paid for hard work and not based on profit.
The wage revision for all banks is due since November 1, 2017.
Bank union leader Ashok Gupta told NDTV 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.
In the last wage revision in 2012, employees had received a wage rise of 15 per cent, news agency PTI cited West Bengal convenor of UFBU Siddhartha Khan as saying.
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 impacted if the strike takes off. However, the functioning of private banks like ICICI, HDFC, Axis and Kotak Mahindra is expected to be normal except for delays in cheque clearance. Withdrawal and cash deposit in the branches of public sector banks would be affected.
"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," Ravindra P Marathe, MD of Bank of Maharashtra, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
There are as many as 21 public sector banks that control 75 per cent of the total business in the country.
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.