HYDERABAD/WARANGAL : “Aawaz do”, the bank officials give out a call and a crowd of around 900 gathers at the State Bank of India, Patny Circle in Hyderabad resounding with a clear ‘hum ek hain’ (we stand together) on Tuesday.
With this, banking operations in the city came to a standstill as employees of Nationalised banks struck work for a day to press for various demands including those related to wages. However, the United Forum of Bank Union’s call for a one day protest across the country will be the first of many to come. Life of common man was thrown out of gear.
“We have sent notices to Indian Bank Association and to the chief labour commissioner of India of our demands but nothing fruitful has happened so far. If they do not accept our demands we will go on strike again,” said VVS Sharma, convener of UFBU. We are only asking what is due for us, on paper we are all central government employees but we are not treated as such, he added.
“After demonetisation was announced each employee had to put in more hours. On most days we opened the banks early and worked past midnight and the way we were rewarded was through chargesheets and suspensions,” said Sridhar SA, vice president, All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA).
“After demonetisation was announced the banks were overloaded with cash deposits. There was huge difficulty in tallying the amounts.”
“Some customers would deposit with banks that are not their home branch, this posed lots of problems for us. There were instances of people withdrawing cash multiple times using different ID cards. The RBI had issued a module that would record the aadhaar card details of the person withdrawing but there was no provision to record other ID card details,” added Sirdhar.
Bank unions said they were not treated at par with other Central government employees. “We still haven’t got the 2016 pay revision. The last time when the pay was revised was in 2006 but it was implemented for bank employees only in 2010,” said Sridhar.
There was a four year delay in implementation of gratuity too. “Its we who lost out,” said Sharma. The Centre is slowly dismantling our right to form trade unions by changing the norms. Outsourced employees get paid less than full time bank employees, most of them are being exploited, he added.
Two BMS affiliates keep out
Meanwhile, with banking operations being suspended in the districts of Telangana, life was thrown out of gear. The strike call was given by United Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella body of nine banking unions. Two of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh affiliates National Organisation of Bank Workers and National Organisation of Bank Officers did not take part in protest. The public sector bank employees staged protest in Warangal, Hanamkonda, Karimnagar, Adilabad and Khammam town.