Money & Banking

Bank unions write to Maharashtra CM to notify first, third Saturdays as public holidays to control Covid-19 spread

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on July 19, 2020

Unions say bank branches are not equipped to maintain social distancing and cleanliness putting employees’ health at risk

Trade unions in the banking sector have requested the Maharashtra government to notify the first and third Saturdays of the month as public holidays under the Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act to protect bank employees and customers from the raging Covid-19 pandemic.

In this regard, the United Forum of Bank Unions (Maharashtra) has drawn the attention of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to the Karnataka and Kerala governments who have alredy notified the first and third Saturdays as public holidays under NI Act to control the rush at branches.

The Forum’s Convenor, Devidas Tuljapurkar, wrote a letter to Thackeray requesting to consider issuing a notification for the same on the lines of what the Karnataka and Kerala governments have done.

Currently, bank branches across the country are closed on second and fourth Saturday and all Sundays.

Reduced staff

Subhash Sawant, General Secretary, Central Bank Employees Union, said that to prevent the spread of the Covid-19, bank branches in the State should be closed on all Saturdays. Further, only 50 per cent of the staff should be present in the branch.

Tuljapurkar said: “We have also to bring to your (Chief Minister’s) notice that despite SOP (standard operating procedure) prescribed by the Central government as also State government and local administration, banks are not complying with regular sanitisation of the branches.”

He observed that banks are not deploying guards at the branch entrance to regulate entry of customers and this is resulting in violation of the basic norm of social distancing and cleanliness. Hence, bank branches have become potential hotspots for spread of the pandemic.

He added that about 50-100 customers, on an average, visit bank branches everyday, and that the branches don’t have adequate arrangements to ensure social distancing.

Published on July 19, 2020

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