Union: Banks employees to strike as talks fail
By Joseph Samson
Sep 25, 2008
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India's public sector bank employees will go on a two-day strike from Wednesday after talks between United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) and Indian Banks Association in the presence of Chief Labour Commissioner S K Mukhopadhyaya in Delhi failed.

United Forum of Bank Unions Convenor C H Venkatachalam said, "Talks with the Chief Labour Commissioner have failed and we are proceeding with the strike."

Rupeetimes had covered the call for strike and finance minister Chidambaram's appeal to not strike and talk.

Nearly a million employees of India's public sector banks are set to strike to protest against moves to merge state-run institutions, demand better wages, another option for pension scheme, termination of job outsourcing in the banking industry and immediate appointments in the Class IV cadre.

Venkatachalam said, "We have demanded revision of wages and deferment of privatisation of banks and disinvestments in public sector banks."

The forum is an umbrella group representing nine unions. The planned two-day strike by more than 900,000 workers was expected to disrupt clearing, cash handling and money market operations in nearly 50,000 branches, including about 15,000 of SBI and its six associate banks.

In August, officers of SBI and its associate banks went on a strike against the merger of State Bank of Saurashtra with its parent State Bank of India. Two days later, a section of bank employees of nationalized banks also went on a stir to protest the same issue.

There are 26 public sector banks with around 60,000 branches across the country. The government is pushing for mergers of state-owned banks to make them stronger in terms of deposits and create the financial heavyweights needed to meet global competition.


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