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Bank unions firm on strike, IBA to meet leaders Monday for negotiations
Sunday February 22, 2015 5:32 PM, IANS

The Indian Banks Association (IBA) has decided to hold talks Monday with leaders of bank unions, who have given a call for a four-day nationwide strike beginning Feb 25.

"The IBA agreed to hold negotiations with the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) on Feb 23. In the meantime, the strike stands," All-India Bank Employees Union (AIBEU) general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam told IANS in a message from Chennai.

"The IBA has invited us for talks Monday in Mumbai and we have agreed to participate in the talks," All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) vice president Vishwas Utagi said Sunday in Mumbai.

The IBA has offered a 13 percent hike against the unions' demand of 19.5 percent which would increase the salary bill by Rs.10,000 crore per year.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday appealed to the public sector banks (PSB) employees not to participate in the proposed four-day-strike later this month.

According to the finance ministry, Jaitley appealed to all the employees of PSBs and their unions not to resort to such an approach by participating in the strike slated to start Feb 25.

"He (Jaitley) informed the employees of PSBs that banks are already in negotiations with their unions and associations for wage settlement," the ministry said in a statement.

"Jaitley said bipartite negotiations in a cordial manner are the only available tool for the settlement," it said.

It said citing Jaitley that participating in the proposed strike is neither desirable nor affordable in the interests of the nation.

In an effort to call off the proposed four-day-strike, negotiations are expected to be held between the unions and the IBA Feb 23 in Mumbai.

On Friday, a conciliation meeting was held in Delhi in the presence of the chief labour commissioner, where the unions, IBA and some officials of the finance ministry were present.

The unions and the IBA decided on further negotiations to be continued Monday in Mumbai.

Wage negotiations in the banking sector are held between the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and the IBA.

The UFBU, an umbrella body, includes AIBEA, National Confederation of Bank Employees, Bank Employees Federation of India, Indian National Bank Employees Federation, Indian National Bank Officers Congress, National Organisation of Bank Workers, All India Bank Officers Association and the National Organisation of Bank Officers.

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