Bank unions call two-day strike from tomorrow

Published : January 30, 2020 19:24 IST

Banking services across the country are likely to be hit, with the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine powerful bank unions of India, calling a two-day nationwide strike on January 31 and February 1. The strike was called after prolonged negotiations with the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) over wage revision for public sector bank employees fell through.

The UFBU has also threatened a series of strikes following the two-day strike. It has called for a three-day bank strike on March 11, 12 and 13, and an indefinite strike from April 1 if the issue is not settled. The strike is expected to impact services both in public sector and private sector banks as the UFBU has reach in 99 per cent of the banks in the country.

Some of the main demands for the unions are as follows: Pay hike of 20 per cent, merger of special allowances with basic pay, improvement in family pension, five-day work week, and equal wage hike for contract employees.

With the Budget session of Parliament beginning from January 31, and the Union Budget to be presented on February 1, the bank unions clearly want to send a strong message to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government at the Centre. “We would not have taken such a strong stand if the delay in reaching an understanding had not extended to 33 months. The Modi government had told us that by October 31, 2017, a bi-partite agreement would settle the matter of our demands. Now that same government is silent,” Rajen Nagar, president of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and general secretary of the Bengal Provincial Bank Employees Association (BPBEA), told Frontline.