Banking services were hit across the country for the second day on Thursday following the strike of 10 lakh bankers who are protesting against a “meagre” 2 per cent salary hike offered by Indian Banks Association (IBA) — the management body.
The United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU), which organised the strike, has claimed that the strike is “total success” as the employees enthusiastically participated in the strike in all banks and in all branches.
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.
There are about 85,000 branches of 21 public sector banks across the country having a business share of about 70 per cent.
Official estimates state that about 25% of the total branches were functioning and 80% of ATMs were dispensing cash, according to media reports.
All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary CH Venkatachalam also claimed that the strike was successful, adding: “Further strikes will be necessary only if there is a serious deadlock. Otherwise, we would like to resolve the matter across the table.”
Industry chamber Assocham had claimed that the two-day nationwide bank strike might affect customer transactions worth up to Rs 20,000 crore.
Talking about the problems faced by people due to the strike, the unions blamed the IBA.
“It is the IBA which has put the banking public to trouble and not the unions. The unions had given strike notice 20 days before the actual strike. The IBA did not respond to that,” Venkatachalam told IANS.
All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) General Secretary DT Franco said: “The IBA has to be blamed for the strike. Even for the conciliation meeting called by the Chief Labour Commissioner (Delhi), the IBA had sent a junior official who had no authority.”
Both the union leaders said the resignation of Usha Ananthasubramanian as IBA’s Chairperson following the scam in Punjab National Bank (PNB) would not have any bearing on the wage negotiations.
“While the IBA has put the customers to difficulty it is the banks who will be saving cost or earning income due to the two day strike. The staff will not be paid wages for the period they were on strike; there will be saving on power costs as the offices were closed,” Venkatachalam said.