New Delhi: Customers queuing up outside ATMs and banks on Friday were greeted with shuttered gates as banks across the country went on a strike that will only end after December 26.
Banks will remain closed for the long weekend starting Saturday (December 22) till the Christmas holiday gets over on Tuesday (December 25). Some branches are, however, expected to open on Monday to bring some relief to customers.
Private banks would continue to function normally.
The all-India bank strike has been called to demand an immediate revision of salaries of bank employees and also to protest against the impending merger of three nationalised banks.
The strike has been called by the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC). The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has, on the other hand, called for a second bank strike on December 26.
UFBU is an umbrella body of nine nationalised banks.
As a result of this second strike after a long weekend, the total number of days that the banks would remain shut now stands at six.
Several bank unions have voiced their concerns regarding the merger as they fear it may lead to job cuts. Although Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while announcing the merger a few months ago, had assured that no jobs will be lost, it has failed to cut any ice with the bank employees.
AIBOC joint general secretary Ravinder Gupta said, “We have demanded wage revision based on the minimum wages formula without linking to profits or paying capacity.”
“Merger is not a solution. It (merger of BoB, Dena and Vijaya banks) was a unilateral decision of the government. Views of other stakeholders like shareholders and employees should have been sought,” National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW) Vice President Ashwani Rana told IANS.
According to IANS, on wages, the unions are demanding a hike of 25 per cent, increment for all bank employees under scale 1 to 7 (instead of IBA’s offer to only those employees in junior scale of 1 to 3) and rejection of the proposal to introduce variable pay.