BHUBANESWAR: Services in public sector banks across the State came to a grinding halt as hundreds of employees joined the two-day nationwide strike called by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) from Wednesday.The employees of different government banks staged demonstrations at various places including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Rourkela pressing for their demands, including pay revision and action against loan defaulters among others.
Sources said withdrawal and cash deposits in the branches of public sector banks were affected on the day.
Officials of State Bank of India (SBI), Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of Baroda (BoB) had informed their customers that functioning of branches and offices will be affected due to the strike. However, functioning of private banks like ICICI and Axis was mostly free from hassles.
All India State Bank Officers’ Federation and All India State Bank of India Staff Federation are members of UFBU. An official of SBI informed this newspaper that apart from high level management level employees, all other staff abstained from work on Wednesday. SBI has over 900 branches in the State and the citizens had to face a harrowing time. “We launched the nationwide strike on Wednesday demanding wage revision, legal action against loan defaulters, curbing outsourcing and others,” SBI, Bhubaneswar Circle, Staff Association’s general secretary and Odisha UFBU convenor Jyoti Bhushan Mohapatra told The Express.
The officials from IBA held several rounds of discussions regarding wage negotiations in view of the huge non-performing assets (NPA) or bad loans in the banks, and only two per cent wage hike was offered. The bank unions argued that the wage hike should not be linked to bad loans of banks since the employees were contributing significantly towards functioning of the financial institutions.