Covid-19 pandemic has engulfed all sectors, for one year. The plight of bank employees has gone from bad to worse in the pandemic period. Though banking is an important service and long queues of customers are seen in front of the bank, bank employees have to provide the service. But no one has understood the plight of the bank employees as they were not included in the front line workers.
Many bank employees lamented that on March 18, 2020, during the first wave of coronavirus Indian Bank Association (IBA), issued guidelines for the bank employees. The IBA notification also mentioned SOP’s for the bank employees to be followed. But it’s not that useful for the employees and also it was not taken seriously.
Even IBA on March 23, 2020 had appealed to the customers, to visit bank only when it was very essential. But customer’s queues was as usual in front of the banks. Bank then started calling its employees on rotation and according to work.
As soon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs 500 to be deposited in the woman Jan Dhan Account, all banks called its staff. No preventive measures nor 50 per cent attendance rule was followed. All employees under pressure with the threat of the virus came on their duties.
All the Bank unions are still silent on this, alleged Siddhart Raut, one of the bank employee. He added that when the whole country was stationery at their home, bank employees were working. The unfair attitude of the Government was seen only after one year, when they declared bank employees as front line corona worriers on March 22, 2021. But the declaration by the Union Government has no meaning as the state governments do not think bank employees as corona worriers.
On April 23, State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC)- Bank of Maharashtra had to request to the State Secretary for permission to the bank employees to be allowed to travel by local in Mumbai. But the permission was not given to the bank employees.
It is worth mentioning here, that more than 1200 bank employees in the state have lost their lives due to corona pandemic, while more than 1.5 lakh banks employees were affected by the virus. The reality may be more than the reported figures speak, Raut said.
During the second wave also though the transaction time in many bank was reduce 10 am to 2 pm, but the working hours for the employees are till 4 pm. The Union banks are still silent spectators, Raut alleged.
He added that late but the bank employees are given the status of Covid worrier, but any special facility is far out of their reach. Even vaccination on priority basis is not available to them.
Raut appealed to all bank employees to take responsibility of own prevention from the virus and raise their voice in case of exploitation.