Mumbai, 1 February 2020
Over 31 lakh cheques worth nearly Rs 23,000 crore remained uncleared across the country following two day strike by 10 lakh employees of public sector banks all over the country, which began on Friday and continued on Saturday.
With this strike, banks would remain closed till Sunday and the banks will open only on Monday, February 3.
No transactions including deposits and withdrawals could take place since most of the bank branches remained closed. Resultantly cash deposit, withdrawal, cheque clearances, instrument issuance and loan disbursement were affected.
The impact of the strike was seen most in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnatak, Bihar and Kerala since a a grid for clearance of cheques in Mumbai, Chennai and Delhi remained non-functional AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said.
Many banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), had informed customers in advance that operations may be impacted to some extent due to the strike. However private sector lenders including ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank were operational.
The bank employees have struck work since their demand for pay hike is pending since November 2017. The meeting in this regard held on 13 January this year also remained inconclusive. Earlier the employees were given a hike of 15 per cent, For the period 1 November 2012 to 31 October 2017.
During discussions, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) on Thursday improved its offer, but this was not acceptable to the unions. IBA in a statement said that despite the revised offer of up to 19 per cent hike, including performance linked incentive, made by it during the meeting the unions decided to go ahead with the all-India bank strike.
There are several demands to hold the strike including the merger of special allowance with basic pay, updation of pension, improvement in the family pension system, five-day banking, allocation of staff welfare fund based on operating profits and exemption from income tax on retiral benefits without a ceiling.
All the government schemes such as Jan Dhan, Mudra, Adhar Linkage, Social Sector, Insurance Scheme, Social Sector Pension Schemes, Digital India, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana etc. are centred around banking. These schemes have drastically increased the workload at the counter. On the other side banks have not filled in vacancies arising out of death, resignation, retirements and promotion, UFBU maintained.
The strike call has been given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, including All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW). Unions claimed that about 10 lakh staff and officers of public sector banks and some private sector banks are participating in strike.