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Bank Unions Call for two-day Bank strike on January 31 and February 1 across the country

Bank employees’ unions on Wednesday called for a two-day nationwide bank strike on January 31 and February 1. This came in after the wage revision talks with the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) failed. This would be the second bank strike this month, after the first one was observed along with Bharat Bandh on January 8.

The dates of the bank strike is a crucial one because it coincides with Budget day. The Economic Survey will be presented on January 31 while on February 1 Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will present her second Budget. Also, since February 1 is the first Saturday of the month, all commercial banks are supposed to be open. Even stock exchanges have decided to be open, especially on the budget day.

Representatives of nine constituents of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) had held a bipatriate talks with the IBA in which several wage-related demands were turned down. IBA has rejected the offer of a 12.25% wage hike, merger of special allowance with basic pay and a uniform 5-day work week.

“After discussing the financial offers of IBA amongst the constituents, UFBU expressed its inability to accept the same. Thereafter UFBU meeting was held as scheduled and decisions were taken to launch agitations and Strike actions,” UFBU general secretary Debasish Basu Chaudhury told media.

Representing nine trade unions, the UFBU has also threatened to hold another three-day strike from March 11-13, to be followed by an indefinite strike if their demands are not met.

“From April 1, we have decided to go on an indefinite strike,” UFBU state convenor Siddartha Khan told PTI.

After the merging of several PSU banks, the unions have been quite miffed by the Narendra Modi held BJP government.

UFBU is seeking at least a 15-per cent hike, but the IBA has capped the raise at 12.25%, he said.

“This is not acceptable,” Khan said.

The last wage revision meeting was held on January 13.

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