Saturday, February 8, 2014

Two-day Bank Employees Strike to Hit Normal Life

Published: 08th February 2014 

In a major blow to the common man, bank activities are expected to come to a complete halt from Saturday afternoon for the next couple of days.
With employees of public sector banks under the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) calling a national-level strike on February 10 and 11 (Monday and Tuesday), which follow a weekend, availing of loans and withdrawal of money directly through banks or ATMs will be hit badly.
According to organisations that have opposed the move of the bank employees to call the strike on Monday, the situation is expected to adversely affect the public since it falls directly after a second Saturday and Sunday.
“On second Saturday, banks operate till 12 noon. After that money withdrawal and other activities will become an issue. With this decision, the public will have to wait till Wednesday morning if any transaction from the bank is to take place,” sources said.C P Mammen, president, Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), said the proposed strike would result in absolute chaos and untold inconveniences for four days.
“At a time when the country is witnessing a slowdown, the proposed strike will only serve to create more difficulties for the already-beleaguered trade and commerce sector. Businessmen as well as the common man will have to bear the brunt of the two-day strike. The closure of banks for several days will pose innumerable problems for ordinary customers, trade, commerce and industry. While some of the impact of the strike might be blunted by the availability of ATMs and Internet banking, a large percentage of people with no access to these facilities would be severely affected,” he stated.
An official with a nationalised bank said: “Even if money is deposited in ATMs, these machines also have a limit. With the strike in mind, people will start withdrawing money. However, we can only guarantee that the money will remain in these ATMs for a maximum of two days. Since the bank will be closed for three days at a stretch, it might become an issue.”
C J Nandakumar, general secretary, Bank Employees Federation Of India (BEFI), said they decided to take the drastic step to press for a higher wage revision.
“Wage revision discussions have not been satisfactory for the past one year. The last wage settlement in the banking sector had expired in October 2012. We have not received any revised settlement. We had withdrawn the strike called in January this year as promises were made by the Indian Bank’s Association (IBA) in this regard. However, the hike that they have offered is not satisfactory,” Nandakumar said.
The BEFI is one of the nine unions under the UFBU.


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