PSU banking services hit by strike

Branches of public sector banks remained either closed or inoperative today as staffers and officers went ahead with their day-long strike pressing for various demands, including accountability of top executives in the wake of mounting bad loans.

Services like cash deposits and withdrawals and cheque clearances have been hit hard by the strike, which has been called under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU).

"The strike has been forced on us because of adamant and insensitive attitude of the bank management and IBA. They even did not bother to talk on providing compensation for extra hours put in by bank staff during the demonetisation period," All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) general secretary C H Venkatachalam told PTI.

The UFBU is an umbrella body of 9 unions, but two of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh affiliates -- the National Organisation of Bank Workers and the National Organisation of Bank Officers -- are not part of the stir.

Unions are also opposed to the proposed labour reforms of the government and outsourcing of permanent jobs in the banking sector.

Some of the demands include compensation of employees and officers for extra hours they put in following demonetisation in November and early initiation of the next wage revision.

They have also demanded adequate recruitment in all cadres, stringent measures to recover bad loans and accountability of top executives. Besides, they have pitched for criminal action against wilful defaulters.

The UFBU, which claims membership of nearly 10 lakh employees across banks, also requested the government for cost reimbursement of demonetisation to banks.

As many as 27 public sector banks control 75 per cent of the country's total banking business.