Millennium Post

Talks fail, bank unions to go on relay strike from today

Banking services are likely to be affected for the next four days as employees of public sector undertaking (PSU) banks plan to go on a zone-wise relay strike beginning with Southern region on Tuesday, after wage revision talks failed here on Monday.

The decision came after talks at a conciliation meeting called by the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner of Mumbai, the Indian Banking Association (IBA) and the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU) failed. The UFBU represents about five workmen unions and four officers’ associations.

Accordingly, the first phase of the relay strike would be held in Southern India Tuesday (December 2), followed by Northern India on December 3, Eastern India on December 4 and Western India on December 5.

“The government and the IBA want us to call off our strike and then participate in negotiations, which is not acceptable to us,” UFBU’s convener for Maharashtra Vishwas Utagi said.

“They are not serious about wage revisions and so we are going ahead with our relay strike,” Utagi, who is also senior vice-president of the All India Bank Employees’ Association said.

Bank unions, which have demanded an immediate wage revision, had observed a national one-day strike on November 12.

Besides wage revision, bank unions have also demanded a reduction in the number of working days of employees to five days from six days as well as regulated working hours for officers.

Banking sector wages and service conditions are governed by industry-level bipartite settlements signed between the Indian Banking Association and unions.

The last bipartite settlement was signed on April 27, 2010 and was valid from November 1, 2007 to October 31, 2012.

Banks which gave mandate to the Indian Banking Association to negotiate on their behalf are parties to the settlement.

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