Banks wrote off Rs.140,266 crore loans, say unions
The banking industry's profits are being used for writing off bad loans and for provisioning for bad loans. The employees are demanding a fair and just wage revision commensurate with the work load, risks and responsibilities, said a union official here Tuesday.
"Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's statement Monday that bank profits cannot be used for wage hike is wrong. The profits of banks have been going up. The profits are being used to write off bad loans," K. Anandakumar, senior vice president, All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), told IANS.
"In the last six years, a whopping Rs.141,294 crore of bad loans have been written off. During last five years Rs.140,266 crore have been provided towards bad loans from profits," C.H.Venkatachalam, general secretary, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), told IANS.
"When it comes to our salary revision, managements are reluctant," he added.
The union officials are unanimous that employees cannot be held responsible for the banks' bad loans.
"Bank loan write-off is an industry by itself. The write-offs are very systematic and scientific," a banker told IANS, preferring anonymity.
Over 10 lakh bankers across the country are on two-day strike - Monday and Tuesday - demanding wage hike and halting the banking sectoral reforms.
According to Anandakumar, the inflation is skyrocketing and the cost of living has gone up.
"The bank management has offered a hike of 10 percent which comes to around Rs.3,115 crore. Even if the offer is 100 percent the total wage hike will be around Rs.31,115 crore. On the other hand the write-off of bad corporate loans is several times over this," Anandakumar remarked.
According to union officials, the wage revision in the banks sector is due from November 2012. The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) comprising nine unions submitted its charter of demands in October 2012.
The Indian Banks Association (IBA) has been delaying the matter for the past one year.
As regards the clearance of cheques that have been held up due to the two-day strike, Anandakumar said it is for the banks to take up the issue with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
(Posted on 11-02-2014)