Public sector bank staff start 2 day strike; operations hit

Cheque clearances and cash withdrawals and deposits in public sector bank branches across the country were hit as employees started a two-day strike today to press for a revision in wages.

However, private sector banks such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank were functioning normally because their staff are not on strike.

Employees are compelled to take this route as the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) did not come up with an improved wage offer, United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) Convener M V Murali said. The IBA represents bank managements.

Banks, including the State Bank of India, the country's largest, had informed customers in advance about the likely inconvenience they would face during the strike.

The unions had rejected the IBA's offer of a 10 per cent wage hike during a conciliation meeting held on February 6 with the Chief Labour Commissioner.

The offer made by bank managements was not in line with rising inflation, General Secretary of National Organisation of Bank Workers Ashwini Rana said.

The staff of public sector banks had gone on a nationwide strike for a day on December 18 after discussions with the IBA on wages on December 14 failed. The wage revision of public sector bank employees has been due since November 2012.

UFBU is an umbrella organisation of nine bank employee and officer unions.

There are 27 public sector banks in the country with a combined employee strength of about 8 lakh. There are about 50,000 branches of these banks across the country.

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