The two-day strike announced by the officers’ unions of public sector banks, which was supposed to start from September 26 has been deferred following an assurance from Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar to look into their concerns.
Four unions of bank officers had threatened to go on a two-day strike from September 26 to protest against the consolidation of 10 state-run lenders into four.
“Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar was positive in formation of a committee consisting of all concerned to address the issues arising out of the proposed merger of 10 banks including preserving the identity of all the banks. An appeal was made to us to revisit our strike call in view of the discussions,” a joint statement said issued on Monday. In view of the consideration of the positive and workable solution by the Finance Secretary, the 48 hours strike stands deferred, it said.
As a result, normal banking activity would not be affected.
The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) had informed SBI that the All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA), Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress (INBOC) and National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO) had given a call for a pan-India strike by bank employees on September 26 and 27, 2019.
The government on August 30 announced its mega consolidation plan to bring the down the total number of PSBs to 12 from 19 in 2017 in a bid to make them global-sized banks.
As per the plan, United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce are to be merged with Punjab National Bank, making the proposed entity the second largest public sector bank (PSB).
Syndicate Bank is to be merged with Canara Bank, while Allahabad Bank will be merged with Indian Bank. Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will amalgamate with the Union Bank of India.
Earlier this year, Bank of Baroda merged Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with itself to become the second largest public sector lender.
SBI had merged five of its associate banks, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore and State Bank of Hyderabad and also Bhartiya Mahila effective April 2017.
To oppose the “merger and amalgamations in the banking sector” and raise demands of a salary hike, the four unions had also threatened to go on an indefinite strike from November.
In the meantime, two other bank employees unions, All India bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) have announced another one-day strike on October 22 against the merger of banks.