More than ten lakh bank employees, led by the five unions of public sector bank employees and the United Forum of Bank Unions (U.B.F.U), a joint forum of four officers’ organisations, struck work on 10th and 11th of February in support of their demands.
The strike began at 6 a.m on 10th February and lasted till 6 p.m on 11th February. Employees of 27 public sector banks, 16 private banks, 8 foreign banks and 48 Grameen banks participated in the strike.
Banking operations were completely shut in the country’s commercial capital of Mumbai, in Delhi and all urban and rural areas.
It is to be noted that the meeting held on 6th February 2014 between the employees’ unions and the management – Indian Bank Association (IBA), under the aegis of the Chief Labour Commissioner, yielded no result. Employees had been awarded a 17.5% increase in wages according to the Tripartite Wage Agreement of 2007. This agreement expired on October 2012. There has been no revision in the wages of the bank employees since November 2012. IBA was not prepared to give more than a 10% increase.
Other demands besides that for a wage revision are:
- To halt acceleration of privatisation in the name of “reforms’ which include – privatisation, mergers, awarding new banking licenses to private companies, growing non-performing assets.
- To stop contracting out (outsourcing) work
- To establish a 5-day work week
- Universal coverage for pension
- Appointments on compassionate grounds
U.B.F.U includes A.I.B.E.A, National Confederation of Bank Employees, Bank Employees Federation of India, Indian National Bank Employees Federation, Indian National Bank Officers Congress, National Organisation of Bank Workers, All India Bank Officers Association, National Organisation of Bank Officers and All India Bank Officers Confederation.