Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) and All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) will hold three-day nation-wide strike over wage hike from March 11-13. This is the third strike call given by the bank employee associations in 2020 so far. Before this, the bank unions held a two-day strike from January 31-February 1 and another one was held to mark Bharat Bandh on January 8.
- Bank employees unions have called for a three-day bank strike in March
- If the bank strike materialises, several PSU bank branches and even ATMs could be shut for five consecutive days
The unions are demanding a 20 per cent hike on payslip components with adequate loading. In the latest round, IBA had improved their offer to 12.5 per cent, but this was not acceptable, the unions had said. The bank employees unions have now called another strike after talks over the wage revision failed to initiate with the Indian Banks’ Association.
AIBEA in a statement said its first phase of two-days strike was a resounding success. It added the massive participation in the strike throughout the country demonstrated employees’ dissatisfaction. “Let us prepare ourselves for the second phase of our agitation commencing from 11th March 2020 to 13th March 2020 as the budget announcements are loud and clear to privatise the profit-making financial institutions to bridge the deficit budget.
Bank unions are also against working on alternate Saturdays. The IBA has rejected the proposal of a 5-day work week saying that as India already has one of the highest numbers of public holidays than other countries, shutting down banks on all Saturdays and Sundays would inconvenience the public.
Other demands include the merger of special allowance with basic pay, scrapping of New Pension Scheme, improvement in family pension, etc.
Interestingly, the strike has been timed in such a way that it’ll have a major impact on the banking operations for around a week in March. Apart from Holi holiday on March 10, the banking operations will be hit on second Saturday (March 15) of the month. In total, operations could be affected from March 10-16.
During their strike last month, several bank branches remained closed and around 31 lakh cheques amounting to Rs 23,000 crore remained uncleared on the first day alone. This also affected services like deposit, withdrawal, instrument issuance and loan disbursement.
Contrary to the bank employees’ claims, the IBA had said that it offered to hike employees’ salaries by up to 19 per cent, including performance-linked incentive, but the unions didn’t accept it.