Mumbai: Bank employees in India are demanding better cleanliness at lenders’ branches and more flexibility in staff work schedules. This has come about following the death of at least 11 bankers and bank employees in India due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In panic mode
The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) asked for better safety standards last week in a letter to the Union Finance Ministry and several banks. The UFBU is an umbrella body of nine unions representing nearly 9,00,000 employees of all types of banks in India.
“Employees are in panic mode,” said Devidas Tuljapurkar, convener of the UFBU’s chapter in Mumbai. The financial capital of India has been one of the worst hit due to coronavirus.
Demand made by employees
The letter said at least 11 bank staff have died after being infected with the COVID-19 virus. It also said employees, who want to, should be allowed to work from home. The UFBU has also demanded government insurance cover for those who do venture out and come to work in offices.
At least 100 bankers have been affected by the virus in this city, according to a union and a banking source. Tuljapurkar said it was not possible to know how the bank employees got infected. However, he blamed the crowded public transport and contact with customers for bank employees being hit by the virus.
The Finance Ministry and the Indian Banks’ Association were not ready to comment on the letter sent by UFBU.
Overall, India has so far reported more than 2,85,000 cases with over 8,000 deaths, caused by the virus.
Some bankers said they are being asked to clock in extra hours due to government pressure to sanction loans. Banks have been asked to give loans amid an economic slowdown aggravated by the pandemic.
Over a dozen executives at state-run banks, which dominate the banking landscape in India, said they were not hopeful about their demands.
“The only thing that has changed with this pandemic is that every communication now ends with ‘Stay healthy and stay safe’. However, on the ground level there are no changes,” said a banker in Uttar Pradesh. He did not wish to be identified for obvious reasons.