The Indian Banks’ Association on Thursday said that discussions were held with the United Forum of Bank Unions for wage revisions, and a 19% hike including a performance-linked incentive was made. However, the talks failed, and the all-India bank strike on Friday and Saturday will continue.
In a statement, IBA said that some of the demands made by the unions are “not possible to accept” — such as a 5-day week. “It is known to all that the economy of the country is going through testing times. Banks being the principal players in economic development, cannot afford to provide lesser number of working days for banking activities. Our country already has one of the highest number of public holidays than any other country and adding 26 more holidays would create more problems for the public,” IBA said in a statement.
The call for the strike on Thursday and Friday 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).
Private sector players such as ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank are expected to be operational.
Many banks, including SBI, have informed customers that operations may be impacted to some extent due to the strike.
Cash deposit, withdrawal, cheque clearances, instrument issuance and loan disbursement operations would be affected.
In view of the strike, banks would be closed for three days including Sunday. Banks will now open only on Monday, February 3. The three-day break in banking operations could also lead to drying up of ATMs.
The strike will coincide with the beginning of the Budget session of parliament and presentation of the Union Budget 2020-21 (on February 1).
The wage revision for employees of public sector banks is pending since November 2017.
In a circular, UFBU accused the IBA of a rigid approach towards demands for a fair wage revision settlement.
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.
Unions are demanding 20% 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%.
A section of bank employees had gone on a day-long strike on January 8 in support of the protest call by 10 major trade unions' against the government's "anti-people" policies.
The UFBU had earlier announced that after the immediate strike, there will be a three-day strike starting March 11, and an indefinite strike from April 1 to highlight their demands.
With inputs from PTI
Read: Bank employee unions to go on nationwide strike on Jan 31, Feb 1