Bank employees’ unions have threatened to go on indefinite strike from February if the Indian Banks Association does not improve upon its 5-per cent wage revision offer it had proposed in talks with the United Forum of Bank Unions, a collective of nine major bank-employee unions.

The Forum, which has decided to go on a 48-hour strike from January 20 to press theAssociation for a five-year wage settlement, is insisting that the latter come up with a renewed offer to avoid potential disruption to the economy.

“We are open for negotiations in the interest of all,” C.H. Venkatachalam, General-Secretary of the All India Bank Employees’ Association, a member of the UFBU, told Business Line. “We are quite aware that a strike will hurt the national economy and cause inconvenience to the customers,” he said.

One of the stated objectives of the IBA is ‘to maintain continuous communications with the representatives of bank employees, to conduct talks, discussions and negotiations with them and to arrive at settlements.’

The unions had gone on a one-day strike on December 18 to force the IBA — which represents managements of all banks in the public and private sector, foreign banks and urban cooperative banks —to come up with a five-year wage settlement with a substantial increase in salaries. Even after the December 18 strike, the IBA had not come up with a renewed offer, he said.

Venkatachalam said though the wage revision was more than a year overdue, the IBA had not bothered to come up with another five-year settlement. After the January 20 strike call was given, it had made an offer of five per cent increase in the monthly salary. But, this was too inadequate to start negotiating, he said.

(This article was published on December 27, 2013)
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