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Bank unions on relay strike from tomorrow after talks fail

Banking services are likely to be affected for the next four days as employees of PSU banks plan to go on a zone-wise relay strike beginning with Southern region tomorrow, after wage revision talks failed here today.

The decision came after talks at a conciliation meeting called by the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner of Mumbai, the Indian Banking Association (IBA) and the United Forum of Banking Unions (UFBU) failed. The UFBU represents about five workmen unions and four officers’ associations.

Accordingly, the first phase of the relay strike would be held in Southern India tomorrow (December 2), followed by Northern India on December 3, Eastern India on December 4 and Western India on December 5.

“The government and the IBA want us to call off our strike and then participate in negotiations, which is not acceptable to us,” UFBU’s convener for Maharashtra Vishwas Utagi said.

“They are not serious about wage revisions and so we are going ahead with our relay strike,” Utagi, who is also senior vice-president of the All India Bank Employees’ Association, said.

Bank unions, which have demanded an immediate wage revision, had observed a national one-day strike on November 12.

Besides wage revision, bank unions have also demanded a reduction in the number of working days of employees to five days from six days as well as regulated working hours for officers.

Banking sector wages and service conditions are governed by industry-level bipartite settlements signed between the IBA and unions.

The last bipartite settlement was signed on April 27, 2010 and was valid from November 1, 2007 to October 31, 2012. All banks which gave mandate to the IBA to negotiate on their behalf are parties to the settlement.

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