The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), a joint forum of five workmen unions and four officers’ associations has given a call to observe a one-day All India strike on November 12, 2014. The main demand is increase in wages. These unions have been holding negotiations with the employers association called the Indian Banks Association (IBA) for the last 2 years. So far they had 13 rounds of negotiations, but the IBA and the government have refused to concede any of the demands of the bank workers.
The banking sector workers are extremely overworked, trying to do their best to serve the customers and implement various schemes of the Government despite innumerable hardships and difficulties. There are over 3 lakh vacant staff positions in banks. Banks also have opened many more branches and the business volume and customer count have grown manifold. Heavy workload due to all these, have led to great stress and increased exploitation of the workers.
Yet, the genuine demand for adequate wage revision is being delayed and denied. New wages should have come into force effective from November 2012 with the expiry of the previous agreement. Over 8 lakh bank employees, both those designated as officers, and those designated as workers, are suffering as a result of this anti worker attitude of the government.
Bank employees are also demanding that banks should release the list of capitalists who have defaulted — those who have not paid back the thousands of crores of rupees loans they owe to the banks. They have demanded strict action against the defaulting capitalists and steps to collect the outstanding loan amount. Instead of doing this, the government and the capitalists are trying to attack the workers and deny them their rights.
Workers in the banking sector also vehemently oppose the moves of the government to privatize the public sector banks as also their merger. These mergers are aimed at cutting down the workforce and increasing the degree of exploitation of those workers who retain their jobs. Workers are also opposing the moves of the government to destroy the Nabard bank and other co-operative institutions in the country. They are demanding that all the rural banks are brought under a national rural bank organization. Banking workers are also demanding that all the private banks in the country be nationalized in the interests of the people of our country. They are demanding that all those who are kept as casual employees in various banks should be immediately regularized. Those who are working as contract employees should be covered under PF, medical insurance and other benefits.
To force the IBA and the government to concede to these just demands, banking sector employees are taking up agitations and planning on launching a strike. Unions are planning to take up agitations on 17th of October and dharnas in various states between 18th and 31st October, 2014. They have planned an All India protest day against the anti worker attitude of the government on the 30th of October, 2014 in which they will hold demonstrations and rallies at all centers throughout the country.
On 11th November, 2014 centralized demonstrations will be held at all centres. On 12th of Nov, 2014 the bank workers will hold a one-day All India protest. All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) General Secretary CH Venkatachalam said about eight lakh employees and officers of public sector banks, private banks and foreign banks across the country will take part in the strike.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar fully supports the just struggle of the banking sector workers.