COVID impact: Bank unions urge IBA for restriction in services, cutting public dealing hours

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New Delhi, Apr 21 (PTI) With COVID-19 cases surging across the country, bank unions have requested industry body IBA for restriction in services and reduction in public dealing time to around 3 hours per day till the situation improves to protect bank employees from the coronavirus infection.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine unions, in a representation to Indian Banks' Association (IBA) Chairman Raj Kiran Rai G said branches with continued footfalls and across-the-counter connect with customers are potential hubs of infections. 'We are deeply distressed to constantly receive news about infections, hospitalizations and deaths of bank employees round the clock every day,' it said.

In the light of grim situation, this is an urgent appeal on behalf of the entire banking fraternity to take up the issue immediately, it said.

The unions have demanded restriction of services only to basic, essential banking till improvement of the situation and realignment of banking hours to 3-4 hours a day.

UFBU also made a case for introduction of cluster or hub banking, identifying few branches of each bank in each locality so as to enable bank employees to work on rotation.

'We are sure that the above measures will reduce the exposure faced by employees and break the chain of infections to a great extent.

'We are continuously getting information from the grass root level about the non-availability of beds/ infrastructure in hospital, dearth of life saving drugs, oxygen which has triggered panic across the nation,' it said.

Last week, UFBU had made a similar request in a letter addressed to Department of Financial Services Secretary Debasish Panda. PTI DP ABM ABM