HYDERABAD: With the Union Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and The Indian Banks’ Association failing to reach an agreement over increase in wages of staff members, about 80,000 employees and officers working in around 5,000 banks across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana observed zone-wide strike on Tuesday.
All banks across the country have decided to embark on a zonal-wide strike from December 2 to 5. While the south zone employees went on strike on Tuesday, those in the north will will go on strike on Wednesday, in the north-east on Thursday and in the west on Saturday.
After delaying the bipartite settlement, which increases the salaries of the staff members, by two years, The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) agreed to increase wages of employees by 11 per cent, which the UFBU found unreasonable and unacceptable. Even after several rounds of negotiations, both parties failed to reach an agreement. “Even after a nationwide strike, the IBA has refused to change its stance. In all these days, they have not budged and have not even increased 1 per cent from their initial offer,” said Rajendra Prasad, vice-president (AP), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA).
“As employees we don’t like to go on strike and inconvenience the customers. We have told IBA officials that if they give us an increased figure, be it 12, 13 or 15 per cent, we can negotiate further but they were adamant with their offer of 11 per cent hike. So we had no choice but to go on strike,” Prasad exclaimed.
Officers are planning to go on an indefinite strike if their demands are not met. “After the zonal-wide strike is over, if they still don’t come up with a proposal, we will decide whether or not to embark on an indefinite strike,” Prasad said.
RETIREES TOO: The striking bank officers were joined in the protest by members of the Andhra Pradesh Bank Retirees Federation (AIBRF) demanding a hike in pension and improvement in family pension. “We are negotiating the improvement of pension schemes in all the banks. For people in the state and central governments, pension of the retirees are upgraded as and when wages are revised. The family pension for them is 30 per cent, whereas it is only 15 per cent for bank employees,” said A Rajendra Prasad, president, AIBRF.