Friday, June 17, 2016

The strike is in protest against government's move to merge associate banks with State Bank of India

Gireesh Babu | Chennai June 17, 2016 



Two employee associations, with strength of around 3.5 lakh bank staff, will go for an all India strike on July 13. The staff, belonging to All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), is protesting against the Centre’s decision to merge associate banks with State Bank of India (SBI). 

Meanwhile, on July 12, around 45,000 employees in the associate banks of SBI will also go for an all India strike against the decision, said a senior leader from the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA). The organisations will also conduct demonstrations and Dharnas in various locations on June 20 and 30, prior to the strike.

The impact of the merger would be that five banks will be closed and their business will be merged with SBI and many branches will be closed, said C H Venkatachalam, general secretary, AIBEA. In the name of banking sector reforms, the attempt is to privatise the banks and hand them over to the private corporates to enable them to further loot the precious savings of the people.

The attempt is to consolidate the banks to make them bigger with a view to globalise them instead of expanding the banks and reach the common people within our country, alleged AIBEA.

"While the existing employees will not have a threat of job loss immediately since it is a premanent job, this will affect the fresh employment in the bank, since SBI may not recruit for a period from the merger and will run the banks with the available staff," he said. SBI has around 1.40 lakh employees at present.

He said that the focus should be on reducing the non performing assets (NPA) levels rather than consolidating the banks for a prudent banking environment.

The focus should be the alarming increase in bad loans to the tune of about Rs 13 lakh crore. The efforts should be to recover the money by taking stringent measures and not hush it up through provisions, write-offs, CDRs and SDRs, he said.

"Hence AIBEA and AIBOA have decided to plunge into immediate action to oppose attempts to denigrate Public Sector Banks and protest against proposed merger and consolidation of Banks with a view to divert the people's attention from the Himalayan bad loans in Banks," he said.

The associate banks, which has a regional presence and considered as a regional player, will lose its charecter once it is merged with SBI and this will result in customers moving out from these banks to other regional banks, he said.

It may be noted that this week, the central government has issued its in-principle approval to merge the five associate banks, including State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBJJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) and State Bank of Patiala (SBP), along with the Bharatiya Mahila Bank Ltd, a brainchild of the previous Congress-led government, into SBI.

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