Industry body Assocham today said that the day-long strike observed by public sector banks today may negatively impact forex and paper clearing transactions worth up to Rs 1.3 lakh crore. “The all India bank strike might also impact deployment of gross bank credit worth up to Rs 1,600 crore,” said DS Rawat, Secretary General of Assocham. He said that the Centre should work towards driving reforms in public sector banking to rein in the huge amount of non-performing assets (NPAs) and improve the lower levels of credit off-take. Branches of public sector banks remained either closed or non-operational today as staffers and officers went ahead with their day-long strike pressing for various demands, including accountability of top executives in the wake of mounting bad loans.
Services like cash deposits and withdrawal from branches and cheque clearances have been hit hard by the strike, which was called under the aegis of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU).
The UFBU is an umbrella body of 9 unions, but two of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh affiliates — the National Organisation of Bank Workers and the National Organisation of Bank Officers — are not part of the stir.
Unions are also opposed to the proposed labour reforms of the government and outsourcing of permanent jobs in the banking sector.
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Some of the demands include compensation of employees and officers for extra hours they put in following demonetisation in November and early initiation of next wage revision.
They have also demanded adequate recruitment in all cadres, stringent measures to recover bad loans and accountability of top executives. Besides, they have pitched for criminal action against wilful defaulters.
The UFBU, which claims membership of nearly 10 lakh across banks, also requested the government for cost reimbursement of demonetisation to banks.
As many as 27 public sector banks control 75 per cent of the total sector.