Bank Strike tomorrow, services may not work

Banking services across India, particularly in PSU banks, could be affected for two days from tomorrow as several bank employees’ unions have decided to sit on a two-day bank strike. Thousands of bank employees, who have been waiting for a pay hike since November 2017, are likely to join the protest. The timing of the bank strike coincides with the opening of the Budget session of the Parliament from January 31 when the Economic Survey would be presented. A day later, on February 1, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman would unveil the Union Budget for 2020-21.

Officials of the labour department and finance ministry had tried to convince the bank unions against going on the strike but the matter could not be resolved amicably between Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and representatives of the United Forum of Bank Unions due to differences.

An official of the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) said the IBA wanted the unions to postpone the bank strike for further talks, to which they refused since their was no commitment from bank management side.

Several banks have already warned customers that its services could be impacted for two days from tomorrow. India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), said that it is likely that work in its offices and branches may be impacted to some extent by the strike. Earlier on January 8 also, banking services were hit as thousands of employees joined ‘Bharat Bandh’.

Bank unions have demanded a 20% pay hike on pay slip components with adequate loading thereof while the management is not willing to go beyond 12.25%. Other demands include 5-day work week, merger of special allowance with basic pay, scrapping of new pension scheme, etc.

A cluster of nine unions have got together under the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) to sit on the two-day strike. The strike calendar includes a 3-day bank strike from March 11 and another indefinite all-India bank strike from April 1 if the wage settlement is not completed.