Bank unions reiterate demand for a five-day work week for staff

The unions claim that bank employees are repeatedly exposed to the virus in addition to heavy workload and poor working conditions at branches.

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Time and again, bank employees have raised the demand for more consideration towards their safety. Bank employees’ unions have reiterated their demand for a five-day work week.

It is felt that reducing the number of days of work will greatly reduce the chances of employees contracting the virus and ensure their safety. Since banking staff need to travel to branches, they remain at high risk of exposure to the virus.

On July 6, Voice of Banking, a welfare organisation for bank employees urged the government in a penned letter to the Finance Minister to offer the same compensation amount for affected bank employees as given to health workers, including regulation in travel.

The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) in January had rejected the demand of the unions for a five-day work week, while offering a 19 per cent pay hike to the employees. At present, employees enjoy an off on the second and fourth Saturday of every month, and all Sundays.
The All India Bank Employees Association has stated that due to the increasing spread of the threat, a five-day work week is necessary for all banking staff.

As the pandemic continues to spread, making India the third worst hit country in the world, the number of bank employees testing positive for the virus is also increasing by the day. In the period since the virus disrupted normal lives, over 40 bank workers have lost their lives to COVID.

In addition to the lurking threat outside, working conditions inside bank premises have been quite difficult. Poor infrastructure and inadequate staff cause employees to work long hours, thereby adversely affecting their health and tossing work-life balance out of the window.