Bank employees’ strike hits services in J&K on 2nd day

Locked gate of main branch of State Bank of India in Srinagar on Saturday. —Excelsior/Shakeel
Locked gate of main branch of State Bank of India in Srinagar on Saturday. —Excelsior/Shakeel

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU/ SRINAGAR, Feb 1: The banking services remained severely affected on the second consecutive day today due to the strike of the Bank employees across J&K.
The customers are facing inconvenience across Jammu and Kashmir UT due to the ongoing strike while many ATMs are found shut or empty in view of the strike. The country -wide strike has been called by All India Bank Employees Unions to press for wage revision.
The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions, decided to call for a two-day strike on Friday and Saturday after no breakthrough was made with the Indian Banks Association over wage revision.
The branches of all the Centralised banks, including State Bank of India (SBI), PNB and others in Jammu, Srinagar and all other towns and Tehsil headquarters across J&K were closed , causing inconvenience to the customers.
Bank unions are demanding 20 % hike in pay on pay slip components with adequate loading thereof while the management is not willing to go beyond 12.25 %. Other demands include 5-day work week, merger of special allowance with basic pay, scrapping of new pension scheme, scrapping of New Pension Scheme, allocation of Staff Welfare Fund based of operating profits, improvement in family pension, introduction of Leave Bank, defined working hours for Bank officers, equal wage for equal work for contract employees/ business correspondents and exemption from Income Tax on retiral benefits with ceiling.
Meanwhile, the Forum has issued strike calendar which includes a three-day bank strike from March 11 and another indefinite All India banking strike from April 1, if the wage settlement issues remains unaddressed.
In Jammu, a large number of SBI and PNB employees assembled outside their offices/ branches and held protest demonstrations. Similar, protests were held at various other bank offices across the region. The employees shouted slogans in support of their demands. Several Union leaders also addressed the gatherings.
In Srinagar also SBI, PNB and other employees held protests outside their respective bank offices. While many customers alleged that they had no prior information about strike, a few SBI employees claimed that the customers were informed about the strike.
Meanwhile, many customers alleged that some ATMs have already dried up as the cash was not refilled due to the strike.