A two-day strike by public sector bank employees demanding higher salaries ended on Friday after nearly crippling business and retail transactions, but bankers were still unhappy with a 17.5 per cent wage hike offered by the management.
During a conciliatory meeting the union leaders had with the Indian Banks' Association in the presence of the Chief Labour Commissioner, it was decided that they would soon hold bilateral talks on wage hike.
The IBA had earlier agreed to give an average 17.5 per cent hike to banking employees, but later pruned it to 13 per cent. At today's meeting, they were offered the original 17.5 per cent hike, but United Forum of Bank Union's convener C H Venkatachalam said this is not acceptable as of now.
The strike that began yesterday nearly brought to a halt all bulk cash withdrawals, money market transactions, forex operations and letter of credit and cheque clearances, besides hitting retail transactions, including ATM operations and loan sanctions.
Although large private banks and foreign banks operated as usual, the relief was much too little for comfort as the 26 state-run banks account for over 70 per cent of all banking operations.
Reports from various parts of the country including Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai said there was a scurry for cash withdrawals from ATMs that had started running dry since yesterday.