People heading to banks on Wednesday(30 May 2018) may face many problems as over a million employees of nearly 21 public sector banks are on a two day nation-wide strike. The nation-wide bank strike which kicks off at 6 AM on 30 May (Wednesday) could trigger a country-wide cash crunch, said C H Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). ”
The strike is expected to hit bank customers hard as it may disrupt month-end salary credit operation. Further, the strike could trigger a country-wide cash crunch as ATMs of most banks would not be replenished in the next two-days. Several ATMs might even remain closed during the strike as security guards employed in these ATMs are also likely to participate in the protest.
Owing to the strike, operations such as clearing of cheques, money transfer, cash remittances, and deposit and withdrawals at branches will not be possible in the next two days.
What is the strike about? Why are bank unions protesting?
The call for a nation-wide strike follows the IBA’s delay in resolving a charter of demands, the government’s casual approach to wage revisions for bank employees and a meager offer of a two percent hike in wage revision.
UFBU has demanded an expeditious and early wage revision settlement, adequate increase in salary and improvement in other service conditions. Wage revision settlements must include all officers up to scale VII. The next wage revision settlement is due on 17 November, 2018.
Banks have seven grades of officers from scale I to VII. Grade one is the junior-most or entry level officer with grade seven comprising of the general manager level of officers. As per a government decision, wage revision takes place on a composite basis for all the seven grades, says Venkatachalam. “This time around the government is willing to talk about wage revision settlement for Grade 1-3 and is unwilling to discuss about Grade 4-7, which it says will be discussed later. The government is not revealing what are its plans on the issue. If they give more or less in terms of a salary hike to either the junior or senior grade officers, there will be trouble. But the government was not willing to commit to anything in our talks yesterday,” he said.
“The Chief Labour Commissioner JK Sagar, and Additional Commissioner (CLC) Rajan Verma, convened a meeting with the IBA and the other bank unions because of the strike notice. We explained that we are ready to negotiate and are not saying that our demands should be met in totality. But to say that there will be only a two percent increase is insulting,” he said.
In the last wage revision in 2012, which was for the period between November 1, 2012, and October 31, 2017, bank employees got a 15 per cent wage hike and AIBOC Joint General Secretary Ravinder Gupta said the unions were expecting a better salary increase this time.
Some banks to remain unaffected
According to reports, some banks, mostly private sector banks, will not be impacted by the strike.
ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, YES Bank and IndusInd Bank are some of the banks that will continue regular operations.