As the Indian Banks Association/IBA and the Government of India had not revised the wages of about 8 lakhs employees of a total number of 27 public sector banks, as per their demands for a hike of 30%, even after more than one year of the due date for wage revision, the bank employees’ trade unions/United Forum of Bank Unions decided to go on an “All India Strike” and announced a 2 days’ strike on 20th &21st January 2014.
However, as the IBA offered a hike of 9.5% (from their original 5 % hike) with a promise to improve further the proposed strike in January 2014 was postponed by the banks’ unions. In a meeting with the representatives of the bank employees the IBA offered to increase their offer from 9.5% to 10.00%.
Obviously annoyed by the attitude of the IBA and the Government of India, the bank employees unions decided to go on an “All India Strike” for 2 days on 10th and 11th of February 2014.
As the days selected by the trade unions of the banks fall on Monday and Tuesday, the banks all over India would be closed down for about 3.5 days continuously, from afternoon of Saturday the 8th February and the banking services will be badly affected.
In the minds of the customers of the banks and the public, there are mixed feelings and reactions to the proposed 2 days’ strike by the bank employees demanding their wage revisions over due for more than a year.
The wages of the public sector banks had been elevated from a very low level by the united actions of the bank employees’ trade unions since the nationalization of commercial banks in India in the year 1969.
For some period of time, the wages of the bank employees had been viewed as very high compared to the wages of employees of the central /state governments and other public sector undertakings.
However, as and after the wages of the government/other psu employees , including ‘teachers’ of schools and colleges were increased considerably, the wages of the bank employees have been comparatively low.
Also, due to ‘computerization’/’mechanization’ in banks, the man-power in the branches of the banks have been reduced and the bank employees are facing ‘work-pressure’.
The bank employees, especially, those in the management cadre have been facing pressures from their managements, staff members and the customers & the public.
However, the IBA and the Government of India are not in favour of doing justice to the legitimate demands for a reasonable wage revision in time.
Hence, according to the leaders of the bank employees’ trade unions, they have been compelled to resort to the ultimate weapon in their hands to get their demands heard by the IBA and the government of India: “All India Strike” for 2 days.
The customers and the public who are mostly in support of the demands of the bank employees, however, feel that the trade unions might wait for some more months and negotiate with the new Indian Union Government after the April 2014 General Elections.