Bank staff for restriction on services, working hours

With banking services continuing even as COVID cases surge across the district, bank officers and employees have sought restrictions on the services offered and working hours.

Sources in the bank officers and employees’ unions here told The Hindu on Wednesday that the business hours is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on working days. Customers are walking in not only for remittances and withdrawals but also for passbook updates, account opening and PAN/Aadhaar updates.

“The customers are not realising the risks involved when they come to a branch for services that are not urgent. They come in for even routine works and this increases the footfall. Every day there are reports of bank employees or officers getting infected and the respective branches are closed for three days,” says an employee of a nationalised bank. He adds that some banks are, in fact, asking the employees to look at business growth now.

“We cannot tell the customers to not come to the branches. So, there should be specific guidelines from the State-level banking committee that only basic services should be offered. There should be restrictions on the business hours too,” the employee said.

Sources in the bank officers’ union said that branches have been asked to work with 50 % strength. In some branches, if there should be four or five people, only two are present because some of the staff are already affected by COVID. Some branches have single officers and they are unable to manage.

There are other challenges too that are affecting the bankers. For instance, most of the branches are air-conditioned and even if the ACs are switched off, ventilation is poor. Hence, when there is a crowd, the risk of COVID spread is high. Further, though business hours are reduced, working hours go on till 6 p.m. or so and women staff do not have proper transport facilities to go back home.

In States such as Kerala and Karnataka, there are clear guidelines. Tamil Nadu should look at alternate working days and restrict the services provided. Bank officers and employees should be vaccinated on priority basis, they add.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 3:26:27 PM |

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