Pune: Members of the banking unions called the two-day bank strike a success and said the next meeting with Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to discuss banking-related issues will be held in Mumbai on June 12.
While most of the public sector banks remained closed on the second day of the strike on Thursday, some customers of these banks faced issues at several ATMs, which had run out of cash. Customers had to rely on ATMs of private banks or online transactions.
Vishwas Utagi of All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) said there is urgent need of banking reforms before the system
“We very well know who are the defaulters who have not repaid their loans and so the government should focus on penalising them and not the bank employees. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi does not intervene to solve the problems by bringing in reforms, the sector is bound to collapse and we will head towards a situation when there will be no public banks. We will go on indefinite strike if our demands are not met,” added Utagi.
IBA had offered a 2 per cent raise in wages to PSU bank employees, an offer that was rejected by bank unions.
Devidas Tuljapurkar, Joint Secretary of AIBEA and convenor of United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU) said they were informed by IBA that the low wage hike was due to losses suffered by PSU banks.
“Banks are running in losses due to non-performing assets and so government intervention is expected at the earliest. We are planning a meeting of bank unions after which we will meet IBA. We are planning to intensify our strike,” added Tuljapurkar.
He said daily around 40 lakh cheques amounting to Rs 21 lakh crore are cleared which were stuck up consecutively for two days. “Bank employees put in extra efforts to implement various government schemes like Jan Dhan, Mudra, demonetisation, GST disbursements and others and so the employees should be paid more. It is sad that despite the strike, neither the bankers nor the government intervened,” added Tuljapurkar.