People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 35

August 29, 2004

   Successful Nationwide Strike Of Bank Employees


MORE than a million bank employees and officers stayed away from work on August 24 crippling banking services in a nationwide strike demanding early wage settlement.


The strike was called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) – a conglomerate of all major bank unions and all affiliated bodies in states, all public sector, private, regional rural and foreign banks. Nearly one million employees are members of these unions.


The bank employees and officers are demanding a wage increase of 18 per cent, but the Indian Banks Association (IBA) is willing to increase by only 9.15 per cent. The increase was 12.25 per cent in the last wage settlement four years ago.




The strike crippled banking services throughout the country, as per reports received at the time of writing this report. The workmen and the officers joined the strike enthusiastically and jointly resulting in total success of the call. In Delhi and many other places across the country, the protestors staged demonstrations in front of bank branches demanding revision in the wages and service conditions with effect from November 1, 2002.


Reserve Bank employees through out the country, at the call of the All India Reserve Bank Employees Association (AIRBEA), extended total support and expressed solidarity with the striking bank employees by holding massive gate demonstrations in all offices and submission of memoranda to the officers-in-charge demanding immediate wage settlement in the industry. The RBI employees in Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, and Kochi have observed total strike in solidarity. Even though RBI employees’ wage demands get settled by separate negotiation between RBI management and AIRBEA, still the settlement in banks has its impact thereon. The AIRBEA has demanded RBI management to commence immediate meaningful discussions on the association’s charter of demands and also to prevail over Indian Banks Association not go for confrontation with bank staff but sort out the contentious issues without any further delay by amicable discussions in national interest. It congratulated bank workers and officers for making the strike a success.


While congratulating the bank workmen and officers for their enthusiastic response to the strike call, the UFBU in a statement on August 24 called upon them to remain in preparedness to implement further programme of action that may be decided by UFBU in the near future. It requested the bankers to settle the wage demands of the employees immediately without insisting on unreasonable quid pro quo so that the public may not suffer inconvenience due to dislocation of banking service.




It may be mentioned here that the earlier settlement expired on October 31, 2002 and since then several rounds of discussions took place between IBA and the five recognised unions of the workmen, including BEFI. In spite of these discussions, no settlement could be arrived at on account of IBA’s offer of an unreasonably meager wage increase and its insistence on the workmen unions’ agreeing to its counter demands. The workmen unions went a long way to meet the bankers’ demand for redeployment of staff, computerisation of jobs, rationalisation of special pay, rationalisation of special leave facility etc., but IBA remained adamant on its proposals in this regard and on denying a reasonable wage increase to the employees.


Among the major unions part of the UFBU are All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW), All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) and Indian National Bank Officers Federation (INBOF). (INN)