AIBEA HYDERABAD, Mar 28: All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) on Saturday felt that the slew of economic measures under different government schemes, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday last to benefit the concerned target groups to survive through Coronavirus scare is bound to result in sudden and huge crowding in the branches, especially in the rural and semi-urban branches.
The number of employees in these branches are very very few and it would be next to impossible to manage the anxious customers and banking public when they enter the branches in large numbers, AIBEA General Secretary Ch Venkatachalam said in a letter to Mr Debasish Panda, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi and a copy was marked to IBA Chairman Rajnish Kumar, and MD/CEOs of all Banks.
He said there is a big risk for the bank staff as well as for the customers who are inside the bank premises in large numbers and this would go totally against the objective of social distancing and increase the risk of infection.
Bank employees are very scared and feel highly apprehensive about such an imminent possibility and eventuality, he added.
Hence, while there is every need to cater to the smooth implementation of the Government schemes, we strongly feel that this is possible only if Bank managements ensure necessary transportation for the staff to reach the Branches where they do not have their own vehicles; Police/security personnel are provided in front of the branches to regulate the crowding customers and allow them inside the premises one by one; Such customers are provided with proper sanitizing liquid, etc. before entering the premises; Bank managements provide additional staff on deputation in such Branches on the days of disbursements; and the beneficiaries are staggered and not allowed to come to the branches on a single day.
Mr Venkatachalam said ever since the outbreak of Corona pandemic, there have been a lot of restriction on the movement of the people and looking to the gravity of risk involved, we agree and fully welcome these restrictions. Obviously ‘social distancing’ is the main objective and there can be no other immediate response to avoid spread of the infection, he said.
With the announcement by Prime Minister on the night of March 24, there is a total and Nation-level lockdown and in many States, there are restrictions like Section 144, curfew, etc.
Consequently train and other transport services have been completely stopped. Many bank employees who are commuting to their branches and offices through these public transportation are virtually stranded now from attending their office. Only those who have private vehicles or those who live in the immediate vicinity of their branches are able to manage to come to the branches, the AIBEA General Secretary said.
In this background, the top union leader said, many employees are unable to attend office, despite their best intention to come to the Bank. Restricting the banking business hours to 4 hours, facility of alternate day attendance and working from home, etc. are helpful to the Banks and the staff to somehow manage in these adverse circumstances.
Even where the Bank Branches are working as above, there are situations where the anxious customers throng to the bank premises in dozens at the same time thus exposing the staff to risk of possible infection. The customers are not sanitized or not otherwise protected. There is no police personnel, etc. to regulate the customers to enter the branch one by one. Bank staff are already suffering from this problem, he said.
We are sure that the Government and the IBA/Bank managements will take the above into account and ensure necessary arrangements as above so that employees can extend their best cooperation besides avoiding industrial disputes, conflicts and tensions. Kindly treat this as important and on priority, Mr Venkatachalam said. (UNI)