After 11 bank staff die, employees ask govt. for transport, insurance

No lockdown here: Bank employees continue to work with minimum staff inside a bank in Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: EmmanualYogini

With at least 11 bank employees losing their lives to COVID-19 in Mumbai and adjoining areas, bank unions have demanded transportation for staff and implementation of safety measures.

In a communication to the Ministry of Finance, the United Forum of Bank Employees (UFBU) — the umbrella body of nine bank unions — said most bank employees working in branches in Mumbai live in the suburbs, and many commute from beyond city limits.

Banks are not providing any conveyance facility to these employees and public transport such as local trains and Metro rail services is shut. BEST bus services have a low frequency, while State transport is not allowing bank employees to use its services, saying they are not covered under essential services.

In addition, the letter said, most banks have discontinued posting guards at the entrance and do not have permanent sweepers, and thus security and cleanliness are also compromised. Banks are unable to regulate customer traffic at the entrance, which has resulted in great risk to employees' lives.

“Further, the government has not extended insurance cover of ₹50 lakh to bank employees on a par with government employees, and different banks are following different policies of compensation in case of death due to COVID-19,” said Devidas Tuljapurkar, convener, UFBU, Maharashtra.

The union demanded that the government arrange safe transportation for employees, and ensure branches are sanitised regularly and entry is regulated. They have also demanded better security arrangements.

It said branches may operate with 50% staff with alternate day attendance and the remaining be allowed to work from home. Employees above the age of 50 and women staffers should be given preference to work from home, as well as employees with diabetes, blood pressure and chronic ailments.

“The employees attending the duties be paid Rs. 1,000 per day as discomfort allowance for the days for which they are attending,” the letter said.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 11:29:35 AM |

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