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Govt tells banks to pad up for relay strikes

The Finance Ministry has instructed all state-owned banks to take pre-emptive steps to ensure least inconvenience to general public in face of relay strikes announced by the unions of the public sector banks (PSBs) from Tuesday.

After a call by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), PSB employees in southern India went on strike on Tuesday. This will be followed by strikes in northern India on Wednesday, eastern India the next day and western India on December 5.

The strike has been called to revise the wages of public sector bank employees. The revision has been due since November 2012.

Despite several rounds of talks with Indian Banks Association, the issue could not be resolved since banks stuck to their position of an 11 per cent wage hike, while the unions pressed for a 23 percent hike.

“The government is fully seized of the situation arising out of the notice given by UFBU for zone-wise relay strikes…The government is keeping a close watch over the situation and monitoring it on regular basis,” the statement from the Finance Ministry said.

The centre has advised PSBs to adequately load ATMs to ensure operation of clearing houses, to ensure continuation of internet banking, to make arrangements for carrying out uninterrupted government business transactions, the statement said.

“IBA is flexible and is ready to negotiate further with the unions, associations in a cordial manner. Unions, associations have been appealed not to go on strike and to return to negotiations. IBA is also proactively striving to ensure timely completion of negotiation process,” the statement added.

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