Bank unions defer strike after IBA offers sops

Unions of India's public sector banks today decided to defer their planned 7 January nation-wide strike as the Indian Banks' Association (IBA), the upper management body, strengthened its sops to the workers.

Further talks are scheduled for Wednesday, C H Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIEBA), said from Mumbai.

"IBA has improved their offer to 12.5 per cent. Talks will continue tomorrow morning and the strike announced earlier for 7th has been deferred," he said.

Wage negotiations between United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and the IBA were held in Mumbai on Tuesday evening according to the decision taken at the conciliation meeting held in New Delhi on Monday.

The UFBU had decided to go on strike on 7 January, which would have followed by four days of continuous strike from 21-24 January and an indefinite strike from 16 March demanding early resolution of their wage talks.

The UFBU includes AIBEA, 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 and National Organisation of Bank Officers.

The unions have demanded a wage hike of 23 per cent whereas IBA has proposed an 11 per cent hike.