Bank employees in the State will strike work for four days from February 25, as part of an all-India strike. Bank employees’ organisations that had been engaged in dialogue with the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) on wage revision, decided to resort to strike after the talks collapsed on Tuesday.
The four-day strike slated at the end of the month is likely to upset the salary payment schedules of various companies as the banks will remain out of operation for five consecutive days, including March 1, which falls on Sunday.
People are also expected to face trouble in respect of withdrawal of money from ATMs as the replenishment of cash will not happen on a daily basis. Most ATMs may get drained out within two days unless the cash is replenished.
The strike is being organised under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of nine bank employees’ bodies. UFBU had been demanding 25 per cent increase on payslip components, which was reduced to 19.5 per cent subsequently.
The IBA’s final offer of 13 per cent increase in payslip components was not acceptable to employees’ unions, UFBU State convenor C.D. Josson told The Hindu .
Demonstrations at various places to highlight the issues would begin next week, he said.
The employees have also decided to resort to an indefinite strike from March 16. Asked whether there was any move for reconciliation, he said it was usual to have conciliatory talks prior to the strike, refraining himself from making any speculation on its outcome.
The bank employees had gone on a token strike in November last and December over the wage revision issue. Wage revision is due from November 1, 2012, as the bipartite agreement had expired on October 31, 2012. Over a dozen rounds of discussions were held since then.
Wages and service conditions in the banking sector are governed by the bipartite agreements signed between the IBA and employees’ unions in the banking industry. Mr. Josson said the previous bipartite agreement had provided for 17.5 per cent increase in wages.
While the IBA has been following a stand that banking sector is not able to meet the demand of the employees, the latter argue that large amounts of loans remain outstanding and hold the bank managements for non-recovery.
The bank unions had submitted a letter a few months ago to the Union FINANCE Minister, which pointed out that profits adjusted for provisions by banks towards bad loans from 2008 to 2013 amounted to Rs.1,40,000 crore, it said.