Bank unions have threatened to strike if overtime dues owed to bank employees who worked double shifts during demonetization aren’t cleared.

Millions rushed to banks following the government’s demonetization decision on November 8, 2016, to exchange their currency. It was the staff of nationalised and private banks who faced the brunt of the government move to spike the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes. Staff members were forced to work longer hours as the banking system struggled to deal with the chaos.

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A majority of those employees who put in extra hours were yet to get additional pay and overtime, almost 11 months since they worked the extra hours. The rush lasted around three months. At present there are about 8 lakh employees engaged with these banks.

Around 4 Lakh Bank Employees owed overtime dues

Bank estimates peg the number of employees who have pending dues at about 4 lakh. An additional hour of work will fetch an employee between Rs 100 and Rs 300 depending on the pay package. The total payout could vary from a few crore rupees to several crores.

No bank, according to the unions, cleared the dues in full. The issue was also brought to the attention of finance minister Arun Jaitley and is likely to be taken up in the next meeting with the labour ministry, they said.

What Bank Unions said on unpaid demonetization overtime ?

The All India Banks’ Employees Association (AIBEA) said it has taken up the issue with the government. In case the dues aren’t cleared, the union said it may go on strike or take legal action.

Another union leader questioned why the banks aren’t clearing the overtime dues, adding that “this pulls down the morale of the employees.”

“At present, there are other pressing issues such as non-performing assets (NPA) and screening of bank accounts that these banks need to address on an immediate basis..HR issues have always taken a back seat for government banks,” a senior official of a Mumbai based public sector bank said.

The department of financial services under the finance ministry had earlier said it was looking at innovative ways to increase compensation of all employees as it was difficult to tamper with fixed component of the remuneration packages of employees.

While there was expectation that the variable part of the pay package would be increased along with the performance linked incentives, nothing concrete has been announced denting the morale of the employees, insiders said.


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