Bank employee unions have decided to defer the planned bank-wise and state-wise strike action from December 4-11, 2023, and January 2-6, 2024, respectively, as the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) is believed to have agreed to their demand for a broad uniform policy guideline on manpower assessment and recruitment. 

However, the unions’ call for an all-India strike on January 19 and 20, 2024, stands.

Five day work week for banks gets IBA nod

At a conciliation meeting before the Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC), the unions said in recent years the number of clerical staff had dropped drastically due to inadequate recruitment, resulting in undue workload on the existing staff, which had affected customer service, said C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA).

“We explained the difficulties faced by employees who were denied leave due to shortage of staff in the branches.

“We also drew their attention to instances where employees faced the wrath of irate customers, who were not provided adequate customer service,” he said.

KS Krishna, General Secretary, All India SBI Employees’ Association, said despite a substantial increase in business volume and number of customers, accounts, products and expansion of services, managements were not addressing the issue of staff shortage.

“Customer service is getting adversely affected, workload and work-pressure on employees and officers is rising, and workplace harmony is getting distorted, leading to work-life imbalance,” he said.

As far as the award staff is concerned, there has been a 55,000 reduction in the clerical cadre, 21,800 in the sub-staff cadre and 17,200 in part-time employee positions between March-end 2017 and March-end 2022, even as there has been addition of 18,500 officers in public sector banks.

“The stock argument of the policy-makers is that staff requirements are easing with the induction of new technologies... If that argument is true, then why are bank managements increasing the number of business correspondents, apprentices, and contract workers through subsidiaries?,” Krishna said.