Economy

Banking hit on Day 1 of strike

Banking hit on Day 1 of strike

Besides, deposit in branches, FD renewal, government treasury operation, money market operation would see the impact of the strike. Online banking operations, however, will be available at all times.

The protest by 10 lakh employees, primarily of public sector banks, affected services across the country, including the North East. The Indian Banks Association, a management organisation from the country's financial institutions, has offered a 2% wage hike. "IBA has requested the unions to quantified their demand for a wage hike in percentage terms, which is being awaited", he added. The Indian Banks' Association has refused to discuss their demands, he said. In the last wage settlement, for the period November 2012 to October 2017, IBA had given a wage hike of 15 per cent. "In addition, bank employees and officers are compelled to undertake so much of non-banking business and all the burden of doing various government schemes have fallen on the shoulders of the bank staff", the strike notice issued by UFBU, an umbrella body which represents nine unions, said.

With AIBEA president Rajen Nagar reportedly announcing that ATM security guards will be among the participants in the strike, some ATMs may remain shut over the next two days.

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Bank unions, however, argued that the wage hike should not be linked to bad loans of banks since it is "not disputed that employees are contributing significantly (towards functioning of banks) through their hard work".

The strike became imminent after the Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) supported the cause, and asked Indian Banks Association (IBA) to respond. Operations in private bank, including ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank, were normal except for a few services such as cheque clearance, The Hindu reported. "We have ensured that our digital banking systems and ATMs (for those who need cash) are available at all times for the convenience of our customers", Ravindra P Marathe, MD of Bank of Maharashtra, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Union leaders reject the banks' excuse, however, emphasizing that low-wage employees shouldn't have to pay the price for companies defaulting on loans. Six PSU banks made a loss of Rs 6,626 crore in the March quarter.


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