Hyderabad, Jan 31: In tune with the call given by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) consisting of 9 bank unions, about 10 lakh bank employees and officers went on a two-day strike across the country on Friday demanding immediate conclusion of 11th bipartite settlement on wage revision and service conditions.
The nine bank unions which took part in the strike are AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW and NOBO. All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA ) General Secretary Ch Venkatachalam said that as per reports reaching from all over the country, mainly from major States likes Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh,Telangana, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala and Bihar, Banking transactions have been greatly affected. The strike was 'total' success, he added.
Most of the bank branches remained closed and cash could not be deposited or withdrawn. Many ATMs also did not function and cheques could not be sent to Clearing House, he said. Mr Venkatachalam said in the Clearing Grids in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi, about 31 lakh cheques worth about Rs. 23,000 crore could not be cleared due to the strike. The top union leader said, Wage revision Settlement in Banks is due from November, 2017 because the last settlement ended in October, 2017.
Even though discussions are going on for the past 30 months, the bank managements and Indian Banks Association (IBA) did not come forward to settle the demands with a reasonable increase in salary looking to inflation and heavy workload on the employees. In the conciliation meeting held by Chief Labour Commissioner (Central ) Rajan Verma with UFBU representatives and IBU in Delhi on January 27, attempts were made to reconcile but the discussions did not result in any conclusion.
Hence the CLC advised the IBA to hold direct bilateral talks with the Unions before the strike and try for a solution. The last minute discussions held between IBA and bank unions at Mumbai on Thursday also did not clinch the issues. Hence, the Unions have decided to go ahead with the two-day strike on January 31 and February 1, the AIBEA General Secretary said. The UFBU had also announced to go on a three-day strike from March 11 and an indefinite strike from April 1, if their demands are not met.
The Unions are demanding Wage Revision Settlement at 20% hike on Pay slip components with adequate loading thereof, five-day Banking, Merger of Special Allowance with Basic Pay, Scrap New Pension Scheme (NPS), Updation of Pension, Improvement in Family Pension, Allocation to Staff Welfare Fund based on Operating Profits, Exemption from Income Tax on retiral benefits without ceiling, Uniform definition of Business Hours, Lunch Hour, etc. in Branches, Introduction of Leave Bank, Defined working hours for Officers and Equal wage for equal work for contract employees/Business Correspondents. UNI