About one lakh employees and officers of nationalised, private and foreign banks will take part in the all India two-day bank strike that would commence from 6 a.m. on Monday.
The strike call is given by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) representing nine unions. As a result commercial transactions, foreign exchange operations and clearing of cheques will take a big hit. There are possibilities of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) going dry in some of the commercial spots.
According to the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), Joint Secretary, R. Vijayakumar, the State has 11,232 branches and 7,652 ATMs, of which Chennai housed 1,400 branches and 500 ATMs.
The employees and officers have been demanding immediate revision in their wages since November 2012.
While the employees unions have been seeking an increase of nearly 30 per cent of their wages, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) was willing to offer an increase of 10 per cent. In the last few months, several rounds of conciliation meeting took place between IBA and UFBU, but the talks remained inconclusive.
In an effort to avert the strike, the Chief Labour Commissioner B.K. Sanwaria called for a conciliatory meeting in his office in New Delhi on February 6. As there was stalemate, UFBU decided to go head with the strike call.
AIBEA general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam said that the unions were holding two-day strike on wage revision issue after a gap of five years. However, it was literally a three-day strike since some of the banks branches were closed on Sunday also. ATMs would have been filled with cash on Saturday evening and there were possibilities of it going dry by Monday evening and hence it would affect the customers to a large extent.
However, senior manager of a nationalised bank said that the customers might not feel the pinch like in the previous decades as the usage of debit and credit cards in retail transactions had gone up in the recent times. It might affect cash withdrawal in some places.
The next round of talks between IBA and UFBU will take place in Mumbai on Thursday.