Photo: Kamlesh Pednekar
The second day of the two-day strike by bank employees saw more of participation, even as branch-level services continued to be hit, with less ATMs functional on Thursday. Normal functioning should be resumed on Friday.
The proportion of workers who did not report to work in public sector banks
(PSBs) was 82.8 per cent, estimated the managements and well above 90 per cent if one went by field offices of the labour units. Around 70 per cent of ATMs were functional across the country, compared to 80 per cent on Wednesday, a government official said. Operations were most affected in Kolkata-based United Bank of India, where 96.6 per cent employees skipped work. Followed by Chennai-based Indian Overseas Bank (91.8 per cent) and Mumbai-headquartered Bank of India (91.1 per cent).
At the state-level, there appeared full strike participation from bank workers in Bihar, Jharkhand and all the north-eastern states on Thursday. Workers on strike were comparatively less in Delhi, Andhra and Telangana.
“The strike was a total success. If there is 80 per cent participation as per the IBA (management) figures, it effectively means 100 per cent. This is because we had exempted ‘watch and ward’ staff, senior executives (above scale-V) and the officers safeguarding information technology from the strike,” said D Thomas Franco, general secretary, All India Bank Officers’ Confederation. He said all 85,000 branches of PSBs were non-functional. Those who struck work will not be entitled to salary for these two days. PSB workers collectively forwent Rs 6 billion in pay, Franco added.
The United Forum of Banking Unions, an umbrella body of nine unions which called the strike, claimed around eight million cheques were not cleared. The unions have opposed the Indian Banks’ Association’s offer of a two per cent pay hike. Banks, saddled with high levels of bad loans, have said they cannot pay more.