COVID-19: Bank unions write to Maha CM over employees safety in state

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MUMBAI, July 19 (PTI): Bank unions have raised concerns over lack of regular sanitisation and adherence to social distancing norms at various bank branches in Maharashtra, putting lives of employees at risk from COVID-19.

Unions have written a letter to state Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray seeking his intervention in issuing directives to banks and local authorities for safety of bank employees.

In the letter, United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) said, “Despite standard operating procedure (SOP) prescribed by the central government as also state government and local administration, banks are not complying with regular sanitisation of branches.”

Banks are not deploying security guards at the entrance of bank branches to manage the crowd, it further stated.

“This is resulting in violation of basic norms of distancing and cleanliness and thus banks have become a cause to spread the pandemic, in view of which we seek your indulgence to arrest the spread,” the letter said.

It said that in Mumbai alone, more than 15 bank employees have lost their lives and more than hundred employees are infected by coronavirus. The UFBU is an umbrella body of nine unions, including All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW). Unions said banks in rural areas are currently flooded with farmers for crop loans but social distancing is not maintained, posing a risk to bank employees.

“We request you to please advise the state administration to deploy police personnel to regulate the rush at branches and to avoid any untoward incidents at bank branches,” the letter said.

It said the local administrations from Raigad, Alibaug, Panvel, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg have asked bank officials to keep their branches open even during weekly offs and holidays. Banks were asked to work on all holidays in June and July too, the letter said. Unions have requested the chief minister to direct administrative officials from these areas to refrain from asking bank employees to report to duty on weekly offs and holidays.

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