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Home / Industry / Banking /  Two-day bank strike from today, salary credit may take a hit

New Delhi: Nearly 1 million bank employees will go on a two-day nationwide strike starting Wednesday, disrupting transactions across the country. Nine bank employee unions across 21 public, 12 private and 7 foreign banks will participate in the strike, said C.H. Venkatachalam, general secretary, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). The bank strike was called after unions refused to accept an offer of a 2% wage hike for junior level officers up to Scale III.

“From unions we made it clear that the Indian Banks Association (IBA) offer of 2% is not acceptable since it does not make any basis for meaningful negotiations since (in) the last settlement, the hike was 15%," said Venkatachalam.

The latest round of wage revision for all banks is due from 1 November 2017. On 5 May, the IBA refused to revise wages for all officers, citing poor financial conditions at banks. Large public sector banks like the State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank, Bank of India had reported huge losses in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2018 owing to mounting bad loans.

Failure of the talks means the branches of 40 banks will remain closed on both Wednesday and Thursday. Several banks including the SBI and Bank of India, have informed the stock exchanges that their services are likely to be impacted due to the strike. “However, impact may not be substantial due to non-branch activities like internet banking. However, those customers dependent on branch banking like RTGS (Real Time Gross Settlement), demand draft, etc. will be affected," said V.G. Kannan, chief executive, IBA.

Other activities like cheque clearance and foreign remittances from banks will be hit. However, ATMs will function normally as cash refilling is typically outsourced by banks.

Some private banks, including HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, Yes Bank and Indusind Bank, will see no impact since these banks are not part of the union.

According to Kannan, IBA has offered to meet unions on 12 June. “IBA has requested the unions to quantified their demand for a wage hike in percentage terms, which is being awaited," he added.

However, private banks have made arrangements to ensure that basic banking services are not disrupted. “We have ensured that basic banking services will be functional. We have also made arrangements for all ATMs to be replenished. Since digital banking services like mobile banking, internet banking are available, we don’t expect customers will be inconvenienced," said Rajkiran Rai G, managing director and chief executive officer, Union Bank of India. “We do not expect all employees to participate in the strike. Typically we have seen that the attendance during this period is 30-50%," he added.

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