Upset bank unions to take a call after December 10


: Bank employees’ unions will soon take a call on continuing with the current pace of bank staff’s putting in extra efforts to meet the demands of demonetisation and cooperating with the Central government.

“We will take a call on this after December 10,” All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam, told The Hindu. “Obviously, the employees and officers cannot continue to work at this pace for long, but we don’t want to take any steps that will add to people’s woes right now.”

He said the unions would wait until December 10, by which time the pressure from salaried people and pensioners for cash withdrawals would ease.

He pointed out that for nearly a month, the bank staff across the country were working `far beyond their capacities’ every day to address people’s hardships created by the government policy.

On the one hand, they were putting in extra work and struggling to cope with the crisis, while on the other they were facing the wrath of the people as they were not able to dispense enough cash. The employees could not stand the tension and pressure for long and there should be an end to it, he said.

‘Disclose cash details’

Meanwhile, the Left-leaning AIBEA and All India Bank Officers Association urged Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ask the RBI to disclose the quantum of cash it had handed out to banks on a daily basis. They wanted the RBI to `publicly announce the details’ of notes they supplied to the currency chests and banks.

They pointed out that while the RBI made repeated public statements that adequate cash was being supplied to all the banks, the reality was that the bank branches and ATMs were starved of cash. “These statements from the RBI have created an impression among the public that the banks are duping the public by hoarding the currencies they received from the RBI,” Mr. Venkachalam said.

Such statements made the bank employees, who were putting in all their efforts to help the people, suspect in the eyes of the customers. “A public statement from the RBI on a daily basis giving out the details of cash pumped into the banks will save the bank staff from public wrath,” he said.

Mr. Venkatachalam said there were allegations that the RBI was favouring certain private banks to the disadvantage of public-sector banks in the supply of bank notes. These private banks included, according to Mr. Venkatachalam, ICICI, HDFC, and Karur Vysya Bank.