Banking services took a hit on the second consecutive day of the nationwide bank strike which was called by employees' unions of state-run banks. Around 10 lakh bankers are protesting a meagre 2 per cent salary hike offered by Indian Banks Association (IBA). There are about 85,000 branches of 21 public sector banks across the country having business share of about 70 per cent.
The two-day strike being observed mostly by the employees of public sector banks comes at a time when a lot of people get salaries in their accounts. The strike is likely to affect cash withdrawals, deposits and cheque clearances at state-run lenders. Operations like deposits, FD renewals, government treasury operations, money market operations are also being reportedly hit by the strike.
Thanks to digital banking, a lot urban customers were able to avoid hassles due to ongoing bank strike. Besides, private lenders, which contribute to a major chunk of business in cities were functioning normally. Operations in the new-generation private banks like ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, however, were almost normal, barring few activities including cheque clearance.
The strike was called by United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation consisting all nine unions of the banking sector. Banking operations are expected to become normal from Friday. UFBU has claimed that the strike is "total success" as the employees have "enthusiastically participated in the strike in all banks and in all branches".
Nearly 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 a two-day strike yesterday as IBA offered them a nominal wage revision, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), affiliate of UFBU had said in a statement.
According to reports received by UFBU from various states and centres like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Patna, Nagpur, Jammu, Guwahati, Jamshedpur, Lucknow, Agra, Ambala, and Trivandrum, employees have enthusiastically participated in the strike in all banks and branches.
In its last wage negotiation meeting held earlier this month, IBA proposed a nominal salary revision to bank employees and officers, owing to huge losses incurred by them in the last few quarters, bank unions said. Wage revision in the banks has been due from November 2017.
According to official estimates, on Wednesday, just about 25 per cent of the total branches were functioning. However, about 80 per cent of ATMs were dispensing cash till the close of the banking hours.
IBA has asked the six banks including SBI, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Union Bank and Bank of Baroda to reconsider their decision and allow IBA to settle wages for bank employees up to scale seven instead of up to scale three employees.
Most of the banks, including SBI, PNB and BoB, have already informed their customers about functioning of branches and offices due to strike. Industry chamber Assocham said the two-day nationwide bank strike may affect customer transactions worth up to Rs 20,000 crore.
with PTI inputs