The bank unions have several pressing demands. (Picture for representation)
With two bank strikes scheduled in the coming week, there is a possibility that banks across the country will remain shut for as long as five days. Banking services could be severely affected around Christmas as members of Indian Bank's Association (IBA) have proposed a two-day strike to protest the merger of public sector banks. Reports indicate that a bank union has called for an all-India bank strike on December 26 and a bank officers' union, too has separately called for another strike on December 21. This means with Christmas holidays round the corner, no bank-related work can be scheduled after December 20 till December 26 except December 24, which is a Monday.
The All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC) said that the strike call on December 21 has been called against the Indian Banks' Associations move to leave officers in scale IV and above out of the bipartite wage settlement ambit. If these bank strikes happen, December 21 being Friday will hamper banking services, mainly offline banking, therefore on December 22 (fourth Saturday), December 23 (Sunday), December 25 (Christmas – a prescribed bank holiday), there will be no work in banks. The strikes on December 21 and 26 would disturb services drastically in these days, barring December 24 (Monday).
The AIBOC, which announced the December 21 strike on the issue of wage revision in the 11th bipartite settlement, is demanding a salary revision according to the charter of demands, five-days week banking, a full mandate for officers up to Scale VII, stopping sales of third-party products and the scrapping of NPS.
ATM operations likely to stay unaffected
ATM operations may remain unaffected on December 21, an official of the association said. "We will not use any force to close the ATMs. The employees engaged in ATMs are not controlled by the officers' bodies," AIBOC assistant general secretary Sanjay Das said. However, ATM operations may be hit on December 26, the day the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has called a strike.
Earlier the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) had given a call for bank strike on December 26 to protest the government's decision to merge Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank. With regard to the December 26 strike, CH Venkatachalam, the general secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association, had told news agency PTI that the strike was against the central government’s move and the concerned banks that have agreed to the proposed merger. All unions under the Union Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) will participate in this strike call, Ashwani Rana, the vice-president of the National Organization of Bank Workers (NOBW) had said.