Bank officers’ union AIBOC has urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to consider bankers as the frontline workers for administering booster shots amid rising COVID-19 cases across the country.
In a letter addressed to the Finance Minister, All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) also suggested the implementation of a 5-day week to break the chain of the spread of the virus.
At all branches or offices, only 50 per cent staff should be physically present, and remaining staff should be allowed to work from home, it said, adding special status to bankers for availing public transport, including suburban railways under essential service category. The government has said the precaution dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to be given to healthcare workers, frontline workers and those aged 60 years and above with comorbidities from January 10.
There should be mandatory rapid antigen tests for bankers to ‘Detect, isolate and treat’ at regular intervals, AIBOC general secretary Soumya Datta said in the letter.
Pointing out that about 2,000 bankers lost their lives in the first two waves, the letter said, ”We consider ourselves to be a part of the ‘Financial Army’, who have braved the constraints and have served the nation in the time of crisis”. Unfortunately, it said, the recognition of bank employees as Frontline Covid Warrior (FLW) was delayed, denying the opportunity of getting vaccinated along with other FLWs in the first instance, which could possibly have averted the loss of precious lives.
As per the Union Health Ministry’s latest data, the country witnessed a single-day rise of 1,41,986 new coronavirus cases, including 3,071 cases of the Omicron variant reported across 27 states and Union territories so far.