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Unions reject IBA offer for 2% wage hike, threaten strike

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has threatened to call a two-day strike at the month-end to protest against a meager two per cent wage increase offer to bank employees by the Indian Banks’ Association.

UFBU comprises nine trade unions – All India Bank Employees’ Association, All India Bank Officers’ Confederation, All India Bank Officers’ Association, Bank Employees Federation of India, Indian National Bank Employees’ Federation, Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress, National Organisation of Bank Workers, and National Organisation of Bank Officers, representing the interests of about 10 lakh bank employees across the country.

“During the discussions on Saturday (May 5), IBA offered an increase of 2 per cent over the total wage bill of the banks as on March 31, 2017. Under the last 10th Bipartite Wage Settlement that was made effective from November 1, 2012, IBA had agreed to a 15 per cent hike over the total wage bill.

“Hence, the unions felt that this offer of IBA was too meagre and did not make any basis for further negotiations. The unions rejected outright this meagre offer of 2 per cent hike,” said C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, AIBEA.

Bank employees and officers’ wage revision is due from November 1, 2017. The Finance Ministry had advised bank managements and IBA to complete the discussions well in advance and release the revised wages with effect from November 1, 2017.

Venkatachalam alleged that “..It is regrettable that while the Government has been asking IBA to conclude the wage revision settlement before November 1, 2017, the latter has been delaying the same and the present meagre offer shows that IBA is not serious and they do not want any meaningful negotiations or to conclude the wage settlement early.”

In view of this, it has been decided to take up the issue with the Finance Ministry immediately for their intervention. If the Finance Ministry does not intervene to advice the IBA to make an improved offer, UFBU plans to call a 48-hour continuous strike by the end of this month.

“In the earlier rounds of the 11th bipartite wage settlement, only non-financial aspects were discussed. The discussion on Saturday was the first time that the financial aspect of the wage settlement was taken up. However, we are disappointed with the approach and offer of IBA,” said Devidas Tujapurkar, General Secretary, Maharashtra State Bank Employees’ Federation.

The unions have called on bank employees all over the country to organise massive demonstrations on May 9. “It is a matter of shame that while thousands of crores of rupees are written off from the profits towards bad loans of big corporate companies, the genuine demands of bank employees are being denied in this fashion,” said Venkatachalam.

(Source: Business Line)

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