Transactions at nationalised banks in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts were affected as employees owing allegiance to United Forum of Bank Unions struck work on Wednesday.
As a result, some Automated Teller Machines of these banks ran out of cash. In Cuddalore, bank employees, led by district president of All India Bank Employees’ Association N. Murugesan, held a demonstration in front of Canara Bank seeking fair wage hike and adequate measures to recover bad loans.
Protestors said that citing untenable reasons such as stress on profitability, declining profits and increasing cost on account of pension, Indian Bankers’ Association (IBA) had refused to provide wage increase as demanded.
During negotiations with IBA, the Forum had given valid reasons such as work load, spiralling inflation, etc., for raising wages by 30 to 35 per cent. But, IBA was prepared to give only 5 per cent hike which was far short of expectations.
Protestors also said that bank employees’ salary was far less than that of State and Central government employees. Getting bonus was a distant dream of bank employees even though banks were raking in huge profits. The banks had totally discarded the concept of giving employment on compassionate grounds to wards of those who died in harness. IBA had not only turned a deaf ear to the Forum’s plea for five-day week but also made employees to work even without weekly offs.
Transaction of around Rs. 200 crore including deposits, withdrawals and cheque clearing was affected on Wednesday, a ban employee here said. One of their main demands was that the final wage revision settlement had not yet been announced, and the Indian Banks’ Association’s offer was very low. The bank staff also wanted more branches to be opened in rural areas and non-performing assets recovered from defaulters.
The employees also opposed the opening of new banks by corporates, privatisation of public sector banks and FDI in the banking sector.