Bank strike on January 31 and February 1; banking services to take a hit

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NEW DELHI/CHENNAI, JANUARY 30: Bulk of the banking operations would come to a standstill on January 31 and February 1 with about 10 lakh bankers in government and private sector striking work over wage revision.

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Confirming the development, a top All India Bank Employees` Association (AIBEA) official CH Venkatachalam said, ”The talks with Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) have failed. So the two-day strike on January 31 and February 1 stands.”

The IBA also issued a statement saying, ”Multiple rounds of discussions have been held between the IBA Negotiating Committee and the United Forum of Bank Unions for the Wage Revision of Bank employees.

In the meeting held on 30th January 2020, despite the revised offer of up to 19% hike including performance-linked incentive made from IBA side, the Unions have unfortunately decided to go ahead with an all-India Bank strike on 31st January and 1st February 2020, to be followed by other agitational programmes.”

”During discussions, the conditions of business, paying capacity of Banks and consistent efforts by Banks at providing various types of benefits to the employees from time to time were explained but all Unions are pressing for some other demands which are not possible to accept. One such demand is for 5-day banking.

It is known to all that the economy of the country is going through testing times. Banks being the principal players in economic development, cannot afford to provide a lesser number of working days for banking activities. Our country already has one of the highest numbers of public holidays than any other country and adding 26 more holidays would create more problems for the public,” the IBA statement said.

”For the convenience of the customers, Banks will keep alternative channels available and customers can utilise these alternate/digital channels of banking 24×7 for day to day banking,” it added.

Interestingly, the bankers have called strike on the day when the Economic Survey will be presented on January 31 and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would be presenting her second budget on February 1. According to Venkatachalam, the majority of the 80,000 bank branches will remain closed on the two days.

The strike will be spearheaded by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions in the banking sector.

The UFBU had earlier announced that after January 31 and February 1 strikes, there will be a three-day strike, starting March 11, and an indefinite strike from April 1 to highlight their demands.