For The 2nd Time In 7 Days, Over 10 Lakh Bank Employees Go On Strike
Banking services in India during the Christmas holiday season have been severely affected after bank employees, within a span of seven days, went on strikes across the country. After December 21, over 10 lakh employees from public, private and foreign banks went on a day-long strike on December 26. The strike has hit banking services like deposits and withdrawal at branches, cheque clearances and issuance of demand drafts, only to name a few.
Bank employees go on strike
The strike has been called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) against the proposed merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda. The UFBU is an umbrella union which consists of a total of nine unions under its wing, including those like the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and the National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW).
The Centre had in September of 2018 called for the merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda. The Indian Express reported that the merger will have a combined business of Rs. 14.82 trillion and would end up emerging as the third largest bank after the State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC Bank. PTI reported the union as saying that the merger will result in the shutting down of the bank branches and customers will also face hardships. With the shutting down of bank branches, a lot of people would also lose jobs.
— ANI (@ANI) December 26, 2018
“Already banks are burdened with the implementation of various government schemes such as Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra, social security insurance, and Prime Minister’s housing scheme, among others,” said the union. Furthermore, the union says that the government wants the banks to grow with this merger but even if all banks are amalgamated into one, the merged entity will not find its place among the top 10 banks globally.
The All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC) had reportedly filed an appeal to PM Modi to revoke the proposed merger. The letter also questioned the merged entity’s capabilities and said, “In the issue of merger of Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda and Dena Bank we find this is pertinent to mention here for greater clarity that NPA (%) has reached a whopping 24.9% (Rs. 16,361 crore) in respect of Dena Bank, while it is 13.2% (Rs 56,480 crore) and 6.5% (Rs 7,526 crore) for Bank of Baroda and Vijaya Bank respectively as at 31st March 2018,” reported Business Today.
This merger comes after SBI merged with its five subsidiary banks and took over the Bharatiya Mahila Bank in 2017, which pushed SBI to be included in the list of top 50 global lenders.
On December 21, around 3.20 lakh bank officers from various banks had gone on a strike seeking immediate wage revisions. The bank managements have asked the industry lobby Indian Bank Association (IBA) to negotiate wages of employees between scales 1 to 3 and leave out those in the higher ranks.