The government should seek the help of the defence forces and ex-servicemen in running banks whenever there are strikes by their staff and unions. No citizen has the right to paralyse an essential service and cause great inconvenience to all. It was shocking to read that the two-day bank strike has resulted in about 10 crore cheques worth over Rs.50,000 crore lying uncleared. Banks exists for customers, courts exist for clients, and hospitals for patients. Those working in such essential establishments must remember this.
Over 10 lakh bank employees have caused great inconvenience to crores of customers. Do many of the employees even know why they are on strike? Their unions need to seriously think about the effect of such “strikes”, and their members need to question their union leaders and their increasingly disruptive actions.
It would be overly simplistic to blame banks and ignore the structural issues in the economy. A typical public sector banker in India is a compliant and conservative professional shaped by decades of strong regulation by the Reserve Bank of India. Public sector lenders rarely speak up. They are easy targets in a blame game for a high level of NPAs. High levels of bad debt in the banking system point to the state of economic governance. The bank regulator’s long silence on PSB reforms needs to be addressed.
The strike does not augur well for a developing country like ours which is struggling to overcome a plethora of problems in various sectors. However, if the demands of the employees are genuine, the government is duty-bound to redress them without further loss of time.
V. Johan Dhanakumar,
Between 2007 and 2012, the business mix of banks has trebled. Thousands of branches have been opened. The total strength of employees has come down while five lakh bank jobs have to be filled in the next few years due to retirement. More than half the amount of profit generated by banks goes toward the provisioning of NPAs, most of which are due to advances made to big corporate houses — some of which are to be given licences to open their own banks. This is a move the unions rightfully oppose.
Nationalised banks are the backbone of the economy and no true Indian would like them to be privatised. Citizens may have been inconvenienced by the strike, but it is the vigilance of the unions that saved the banking industry from the great collapse of 2008.
As a banker, I would like to state the facts. We provide services to a range of clientele, but when it comes to our genuine demands, we are not heard out. We work beyond banking hours, and in highly a risk-prone industry like ours, where a mistake can lead to the loss of crores of rupees, it is important what we are looked after reasonably well. We are paid a salary far below that which is offered to other Central and State government employees. Our demands are just, and all we are asking for is respectable pay.
Amanvir Singh Tiwana,
Keywords: Bank strike