Bank staff to get 15% wage hike, strike called off

Employees of state-owned bank today called off a planned four-day strike, beginning 25 February, after the bank managements agreed to a 15 per cent increase in wages, an official of the bankers said.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UNBU), a confederation of banking sector unions representing nearly a million bank workers, had called for the strike if the union's demands, including higher wages and a five-day work week, were not met.

The UFBU brings together the All India Bank Employees Association, 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.

While the unions had demanded a 19-per cent increase in wages, with effect from November 2012, when the previous wage accord ended, the wage revision was settled at 15 per cent, reports quoting UFBU convener M V Murali said.

The wage agreement is estimated to cost banks an additional Rs4,725 crore annually, union officials said.

The banks and unions also agreed that only two Saturdays a month will be working days.

The new salaries, applicable for more than 700,000 bank employees, will be valid for five years from November 2012.

A four-day strike would have paralysed banking operations across the country, crippling cash transactions and cheque clearances and would have left the money market volatile.

The state-owned banks account for more than 70 per cent of loans and deposits in the country.

The settlement was reached after 18 rounds of negotiations over more than two years, Vishwas Utagi, a senior union official, said.

The Indian Banks' Association, which was represents the bank managements, confirmed the wage revision and the holiday agreement in a statement.