Bank wage unions call 2-day strike, talks fail in August

Once again the talks between United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) for the ninth bipartite on wage revision has failed. The UFBU has given a call for two-day nationwide bank strike on August6-7, 2009.

The call for strike comes after the UFBU leaders’ meeting with the IBA chairman, MV Nair, who is also the chairman and managing director of Union Bank of India, in Mumbai on Tuesday.

It was for the first time that Nair met the union leaders chairman of IBA. Earlier he was dealing with unions in his capacity as the chairman of the IBA’s wage negotiating committee.

Earlier the union leaders made a fresh appeal before the IBA chairman to restore the 17.5% salary hike for the bank employees, which apparently IBA had offered .

Talking to FE, CH Venkatachalam, convener of UFBU, said that call for strike was given by UFBU after the talks with the IBA chairman turned inconclusive. All the nine bank employees’ unions, that comprise UFBU, have supported the proposed strike.

The ninth bipartite is due for the bank employees since November, 2007 and the 17.5% hike in wage of bank employees will put an additional burden on the state-owned banks by Rs 4,800 crore every year.

However, after having agreed initially for the 17.5% hike, the IBA later communicated to the UFBU that on government’s instructions it had decided to cap the hike to 15% only.

Now, the problem over negotiation has got complicated further after the IBA’s remained firm on its earlier offer of 15% wage hike. On condition of anonymity, an IBA official said that the 17.5% hike was never official offered by the IBA during the series of talks it has held with the UFBU.

More than 10 lakh bank employees are likely to join the strike.

Nair was not available for comments as he has gone on leave and is likely to take up the matter further only when he resumes his office.

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