Money & Banking

Bank staff in a fix over rising instances of Covid-positive cases

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on July 28, 2020 Published on July 28, 2020

A sense of fear looms large among bank employees over the spurt in the number of Covid-positive cases in recent weeks, notwithstanding the 100-odd deaths (due to Covid) across various public sector banks in the country since March 25.

The recovery rate from the deadly disease might have improved significantly since its outbreak, but fear psychosis seems to have set in among bankers about workplace safety.

Less than a week back, 30 employees of State Bank of India’s administrative office on McDonalds Road in Trichy were tested positive, while a senior manager succumbed to the disease. Employees then claimed that there were at least 38 positive cases in the campus.

Thomas Franco, former General Secretary, All-India Bank Officers’ Confederation, conceded that bank employees were becoming more vulnerable to the disease.

Stating that there was no justification in keeping branches open when the country was under total lockdown, he said “the stress was huge. That’s not all. Earlier, if someone in a branch was tested positive, the officials directed closure of the branch for three days. In the last fortnight, the said branch/premise is fumigated and people are asked to report for work. Branches in containment zones continue to function, while the rest in the area are not permitted to move out”.

The government should consider reducing the working hours and making it a five-day week, Franco said.

Bankers said that the footfall at branches were on the rise, with customers walking in to update pass book and other menial jobs. “Today, every bank offers internet banking services. The customer can take a look at his balance or entries over the net, view the mini statement from an ATM, drop cash/ cheque in the kiosk, use Bot Chat for any help etc. Yet people crowd at the branch, and the work pressure on the staff soars,” said a staffer preferring anonymity.

Meanwhile it is reliably learnt that State Bank of India has asked its pensioners to visit the branch to collect their Form XVI and interest certificate, besides asking customers to update their KYC details, when the same can be done electronically. “Why during this pandemic? Can’t this updation be done at a later date?” said an angry account holder.

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Published on July 28, 2020
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