AIBEA says over 1,300 bank staff succumbed to COVID; urges IBA to issue weekly health bulletin

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New Delhi, May 21 (PTI) With more than 1,300 bank employees succumbing to COVID-19, bank union AIBEA has urged the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) to publish weekly health bulletin on the number of staff who have been affected by the virus.

Besides, the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) has asked the IBA to help staff in getting vaccination on a priority basis so that they can discharge their duties without fear.

In a letter to the IBA, the union said it has been observed that even though the number of people infected under the second wave is increasing, the toll in the banking sector is much higher and also deaths.

This is creating a lot of scare and panic amongst the bank employees, AIBEA General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said in the letter addressed to IBA CEO Sunil Mehta.

As per the IBA data, as many as 600 bankers had lost their lives to COVID as of January 2021. As per the AIBEA, the tally has increased to 1,300.

There are 13.50 lakh bank employees and in percentage terms, deaths due to COVID-19 is 0.10 per cent. This is higher than the national average indicating that bankers are at a high risk of getting infected by the virus.

With regard to vaccination, Venkatachalam said the Union government has made some requests to state governments to give priority to bankers for vaccination against COVID.

'Even now, there is no directive to this effect from the central government. Bank employees feel ignored by the government while they have been doing their duty and serving the people with all the risks,' he said.

He also demanded that the IBA should release a weekly bulletin about the number of bank employees who are affected by COVID-19 and the number of such people who have lost their lives, among others.

'While WHO, central government, state governments, etc are regularly publishing the data, there should not be any difficulty for the IBA to collect and publish the data relating to banks about those affected by COVID-19,' he said.

Further, the AIBEA has asked the IBA to convene a virtual meeting with unions so their inputs can be incorporated while deciding about the smooth working of banks during local lockdowns. PTI DP RAM