The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has deferred the January 20th and 21st nationwide strike, as the Indian Banks Association (IBA) improved its initial offer and came forward to expedite the wage settlement for bank employees and officers.

A decision to this effect was taken at the talks held between IBA and the representatives of various employees' unions in Mumbai on Friday.

All India Bank Employees Association, general secretary, C.H. Venkatachalam said that IBA increased its initial offer from five per cent to 9.5 per cent on pay slip cost and to hold next round of talks on January 27 in Mumbai. In view of the development, UFBU has decided to defer the 48-hour nation wide strike.

“We are satisfied with the outcome. IBA has agreed to complete the whole process of negotiations by June 2014. Therefore, all the programmes such as rallies, demonstrations, protests and strike till January 27 has been deferred,” he said.

It may be noted that wage revision settlement in the banks is due from November 2012 and UFBU submitted the charter of demands in October 2012. Citing a substantial increase in workload due to increase in volume of business, the striking employees have been demanding a wage revision and immediate settlement of it without any delay.

In its reply, IBA said that Banks were under stress due to provisions for bad loans and increase in cost of pension. Banks cannot afford to give higher wage revision and hence offered an increase of Rs.1,575 crore (five per cent on the pay slip components of the total wage bill). However, it was rejected by UFBU stating it was totally inadequate.

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