Following a rise in the number of COVID cases in Goa, especially amongst bank employees, the Goa Bank Employees’ Association (GBEA) has decided to protest against the authorities for not putting in place safety measures for the staff within the workplace.
Demanding a COVID-19 safe workplace, GBEA has announced an agitation from September 1 claiming that there has been no response from the concerned authorities to their request to provide a safe working environment for the bank staff.
The Association claims that the State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC), which is the designated authority for banks in Goa, is not implementing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) as per government guidelines and norms — pertaining to containment measures, which is making workplaces vulnerable. Earlier, the SLBC had introduced various measures to contain the virus, such as only 5 days working, 50 per cent staff attendance on a rotation basis, regulated business hours, and so on, in keeping with the government guidelines.
With hundreds of customers visiting the banks on a daily basis, the front-line staff are getting exposed and becoming vulnerable to the virus.
It is alleged that the management of the banks in the state are not bothered about maintaining social distancing norms for employees at work or for customers visiting branches, nor are they providing enough protective gear to employees on duty, or regularly sanitising the branches.
Surprisingly, even employees with disabilities, expecting female employees, lactating women employees, employees with serious ailments, employees having comorbidities, who, according to MHA guidelines are supposed to remain at home, are being forced by the bank authorities to come to work.
Therefore, the protest will not just be against unsafe workplaces, but also against the negligence of SLBC and its lackadaisical attitude towards employee safety.
The Central Committee of GBEA is soon to finalise the agitational programme including strike action.
On Sunday, the total number of positive cases in Goa stood at 13,999.