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Bank staff want cash, not praise from the PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words of appreciation for bank employees in his televised speech on Saturday has brought little cheer to bank staff.

business Updated: Jan 04, 2017 16:15 IST
Mahua Venkatesh
Bank staff
A bank in Guwahati. Ever since the November 8 note ban, bank staff have been working extra long hours. (AP)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words of appreciation for bank employees in his televised speech on Saturday has brought little cheer to bank staff. State-owned lenders have called for concrete rewards for their staff, while bank unions have demanded immediate and appropriate compensation and payment of overtime dues to all employees.

The National Organization of Bank Workers (NOBW), an affiliate of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, has also written to the Prime Minister asking him to look into the issue. According to the letter, many banks are yet to pay their staff the overtime dues.

Most public and private sector bank officials have worked not worked extra hours but also on weekends and holidays to meet the surge in customer demand, after the government announced the demonetization exercise on November 8.

“While the Prime Minister praised the bank officials for their work, there was no concrete announcement made for their welfare..we have written to the PM urging him to look into the matter,” Ashwani Rana, vice president, NOBW, told Hindustan Times. The public sector banks have about 8 lakh employees at present.

The All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) too has demanded that the bank managements ensure safety and protection of bank staff by maintaining law and order in all bank branches to prevent harassment of bank staff.

“The government and the Reserve Bank of India must take steps to normalize the situation at the earliest, the bank employees are under tremendous pressure with shortage of cash and withdrawal limits still continuing,” CH Venkatachalam, general secretary, AIBEA said.

Modi, in his speech, complimented the bank employees including the banking correspondents who primarily work in the rural areas but also said that the “few officials” who have indulged in misconduct in the last one month will not be spared.