Talks with managements fail; bank workers to strike

Talks with managements fail; bank workers to strike work on July 12, 13

Chennai, July 9 (IANS) Bank employees are preparing to strike work on Tuesday and Wednesday after talks between their representatives and bank managements failed on Friday, C.H. Venkatachalam, a union leader, said on Saturday.

The managements “made no concrete proposal” to the employees who have been opposing the proposed merger of the State Bank of India (SBI) with its associate banks as also privatisation of the IDBI Bank, Venkatachalam, the General Secretary of the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), said in a statement.

The talks were convened by the Chief Labour Commissioner of the central government in his office in New Delhi on Friday.

Officials of the Department of Financial Services, the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and five associate banks of the SBI, and the union leaders attended the meeting.

Venkatachalam said the union leaders stated at the meeting that instead of taking stringent measures against wilful and deliberate defaulters of bank loans, the government is diverting public attention by such steps as privatisation and consolidation of banks.

The unions also explained as to why the proposed merger of the SBI with its associate banks, the proposed privatisation of IDBI Bank, and other such measures are unwarranted, he said.

The unions emphasised that effective measures to recover the alarmingly high levels of bad loans is the real top priority for the banks today, Venkatachalam said.

The managements of SBI’s associate banks made no concrete proposal except making a statement that they are always willing to talk to the union, he said.

The government has approved the merger of the SBI with its five associate banks — State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Patiala (SBP), State Bank of Mysore (SBM) and State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) — as well as Bharatiya Mahila Bank.

The AIBEA had called on about 45,000 employees of the SBI’s associate banks to strike work on July 12 to protest against the proposed merger.

The AIBEA had also announced support for another strike planned the next day, on July 13, to be observed by employees of all banks.

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