5-day week for bank staff soon in lieu of longer hrs
Mumbai: Five-day week for banks may soon become a reality. Negotiations between the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and the United Forum of Bank Employees have progressed, with the association agreeing in-principle for a five-day week in exchange for longer hours.The government will have to notify all Saturdays as holidays under section 25 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, said S Nagarajan, general secretary, All India Bank Officers’ Association. He added the deal was outside the wage talks as it was long pending. However, as the owner of the public sector banks, the government also has a say. The RBI will also have to accept the proposal as it decides the timing of most interbank activities.A senior union official, who was not present in the meeting, said that IBA had agreed to the proposal in its engagement with union officials on Tuesday.IBA officials could not be reached for comment.Sources said employees will work 40 minutes more daily from 9:45am to 5:30pm. The proposal comes when stock markets plan to increase trading to align with the Western markets.Currently, bank employees work on alternate Saturdays, which has resulted in a lot of confusion among customers who need to track whether it is a working Saturday. Bank unions have long been demanding a five-day week. Demands have intensified after LIC accepted a five-day week proposal ahead of its listing.According to bankers, mobile banking, ATMs and internet banking have become the primary channels for customers to access their bank accounts over the years. However, a particular segment of customers was still dependent on bank branches. Banks have increasingly started moving customers to self-service by installing cash deposit machines and machines for passbook printing.
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