AROUND one million bank employees went on strike across India today, a union representative said, demanding better pay and a government crackdown on companies which wilfully default on loan payments.
Some 5,000 workers chanted slogans and waved banners at a protest in the financial capital Mumbai, union boss Devidas Tuljapurkar said, as they claimed they were paying the price for India’s mountain of bad debts.
The Asian giant’s troubled lenders have some of the highest levels of debt in emerging markets, weighed down by billions of dollars of non-performing assets (NPAs) also known as bad loans.
The two-day strike, which ends tomorrow, led to tens of thousands of branches of public sector and commercial banks downing their shutters, paralysing operations in some parts of the country.
The strikers are unhappy with a proposed 2% wage rise which they have been offered, noting that it is well below India’s inflation rate of around 4.5%.
“Bankers’ justification in offering the meagre wage rise is losses to the banks,” Tuljapurkar, convenor of India’s United Forum of Bank Unions, said in a statement.
“(However)... It is big corporates which are attributable for losses to the banks. But for no fault on their part ordinary employees and officers are being denied their due share in profits.”
India’s bad loan problem received national attention in March 2016 when beer and airline tycoon Vijay Mallya fled to the UK to avoid paying nearly US$1 billion (RM4 billion) in loans that he owed banks.
Earlier this year, the government said banks’ bad loans were worth more than US$120 billion. – AFP, May 30, 2018.
Source : https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/51152