Bank workers firm on Feb 10-11 strike as wage talks fail

The United Forum of Bank Unions has revived its call for a sector-wide strike on 10 and 11 February following the failure of talks for a rise in wages between the employees' unions and the Indian Banks' Association, which represents bank managements.

C H Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association, said banks had offered a 10 per cent wage increase, but the unions had refused to accept the offer, calling it ''meagre''.

The bank managements represented by IBA increased their offer from 9.5 per cent to 10 per cent on payslip cost at their talks with UFBU on Monday, but Venkatachalam said this improvement is seen as inadequate and it has been decided to revive the strike call.

Earlier, the UFBU, a representative body of nine bank unions, had announced plans for a two-day nationwide strike on 20-21 January, followed by further strikes in February and March.

They had urged the Indian Banks' Association and the government to resume wage-increase talks with a better offer and expedite the settlement.

On 18 December last year, about a million bank employees went on strike, demanding early wage revision and opposing banking reforms.

The Indian Banks' Association argued banks couldn't revise wages, as the economy was in bad shape.