November 24, 2020

Bank woes return, thanks to strike

Patna: The two-day nationwide strike of public sector banks that started from Wednesday has badly hit traders and salaried professionals alike in the state.

The bank employee unions are on strike against the meagre salary hike of 2 per cent that the by Indian Banks Association – the management body – has proposed for them. Public sector banks in Bihar are supporting the strikes. The banks will reopen on Friday.

P.K. Agrawal, president of Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that business and trade activity has already been badly affected in the state, and with banks opening on Friday there will be a huge burden of delayed transactions.

“Apart from this, the daily economic activity of people would also be hit,” he added.

Many residents struggled to cope with their daily cash needs on Wednesday, as shutters of most of the ATMs were down. Apart from the public sector banks, ATMs of a few private banks such as HDFC and Axis Bank were also closed in the city. Many residents did the rounds of ATMs only to return empty handed.

Many government employees also faced difficulties in withdrawing their salaries as the strike coincides with the month end.

PTI reported that the impact of the strike was more in certain states like Kerala, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand compared to other states.

“Our wage revision settlement pending since November 2017, the management offered only 2 per cent hike in the salary,” said Ajit Kumar Mishra, general secretary, State Bank of India Officers Association. “We are dissatisfied with the proposed hike as it is very less and if our demand remains unfulfilled we will be compelled to go on strike indefinitely. People presume that bank employees are very prosperous but we are actually very low paid and overburdened employees. We don’t want to affect the people badly but we are compelled to go on strike.”

The strike became inevitable, said a senior official in the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), as several rounds of talks between banks and employees’ unions failed to make any headway. So, several unions decided to go on strike against the proposed wage hike of 2 per cent as against the employees’ demand of 15 per cent.

“The meagre proposed hike of only 2 per cent is a blatant insult of bank employees,” said Sunil Kumar, general secretary, All India Nationalized Bank Officers Federation (AINBOF). “For us it is de-motivating. Bank employees worked really hard to implement all major schemes of the central and state governments ranging from Jan Dhan to scholarship scheme of Bihar government”.

There are over 7,500 branches of nationalised banks in Bihar, with a share of over 70 percent of all banking transactions in the state.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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