Bank strike hits services, impact to continue today

Daniel Fowler
May 31, 2018

A million Indian bank employees have declared a two-day strike on May 30 and May 31, bringing the country's financial nervous system to a grinding halt.

Almost 10 lakh employees working in various branches of 21 public sector banks, 13 old generation private sector banks, six foreign banks and 56 regional rural banks across the country went on the strike as the banking lobby, Indian Banks Association (IBA), offered them a nominal wage revision. It has employees from 21 public, 12 private and seven foreign banks.

On May 5, the Indian Banks' Association offered 2 per cent hike which was rejected by unions calling it unjust. "It is likely that our bank will also be impacted to some extent by the strike calls".

Hindustan Times, owned by HT Media Ltd, is one of India's largest publications that provides unbiased news, analysis and features on politics, sports, entertainment, lifestyle and more. We had no other option but to go on strike, forgoing two days' salary, All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) joint general secretary Ravinder Gupta said.

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Last ditch efforts to defer the strike failed as the meeting between United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) representatives and the Labour Department, Finance Ministry and Indian Banks Association officials could not break the deadlock. Assocham said the two-day strike may affect transactions worth up to Rs 20,000 crore.

"At an operating level the banks are still making profits, just that they had to take a hit because of NPAs". Account holders in ICICI Bank Ltd, HDFC Bank Ltd and Axis Bank Ltd will not be affected since these banks are not part of the union.

"Although the chief labour commissioner tried his best to sort out the strike issue, there was no positive development", said All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary CH Venkatachalam on Monday. He had also said that officers and employees have to be paid for hard work and not based on profit. Withdrawal and cash deposit in the branches of public sector banks would be affected.

"We urge our customers to make the maximum use of digital banking services like UPI, MahaMobile app, internet banking facilities for their transactions".

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