PSU bank strike likely on Feb 28, may dent services

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Operations at public sector banks are likely to be disrupted on Tuesday as nine unions under the aegis of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) have called for a strike to press for various demands, including top executives’ accountability in view of mounting bad loans in the sector.Most of the banks, including SBI, PNB and BoB, have already informed their customers that functioning of branches and offices will be impacted if the strike takes off.

The functioning of private lenders like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank and Kotak Mahindra Bank is expected to be normal except delay in cheque clearances.

“UFBU is opposed to the retrograde anti-people banking/labour reforms. The moves of the government infringing the hard-earned trade union rights and the hazardous practice of outsourcing of permanent jobs,” All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) general secretary C H Venkatachalam said.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) is an umbrella body of 9 unions, but two of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh affiliates — National Organisation of Bank Workers and National Organisation of Bank Officers — are not part of the stir.

The demands include compensation of employees for extra work put in after demonetisation in November and early initiation of process of next wage revision of bank employees.

“The role of bank employees during the implementation period of demonetisation was appreciated by the government, customers and the general public. It is a pity that the hard work is not given due recognition,” Venkatachalam added.

The conciliation meeting before the chief labour commissioner on February 21 failed to break the logjam as the bank management represented by the Indian Banks Association did not agree to demands and put conditions, Venkatachalam said.