Bank unions call for strike against merger

Bank unions call for strike against merger

PTI file photo of protests against the merger of three public sector banks - Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank.

Banking services across India may be affected today as members of the Indian Banks Association (IBA), All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) and United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) have called for strikes.

According to a report on Business Today, the three unions have called for a strike on today and December 26, to protest against the merger of the Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank.

UFBU vice-president Ashwani Rana said that all the unions under its umbrella will be partaking in the strike. In addition, the report AIBOC has written to PM Modi questioning the capability of the merged entity - asking how merging two banks with high bad loan ratios is helping anyone. It also alleged that it will only pull down the performance of Vijaya Bank, which has a 6.5% bad loan.

The unions also feel that the merger will impact public sector banks, cause a loss in jobs and open space for private banks to dominate the industry.

The AIBOC said that its protest is also against the IBA's move to exclude Scale IV officers and above from the bipartite wage settlement.

Canara Bank services to be affected tomorrow

The Canara Bank Officers' Association has also called for a strike on Friday, with a list of demands including wage revision, merger of PSBs and a medical insurance scheme in line with the SBI.

The Association said in a press release, that it wants the minimum wages formula implemented as per the International Labour Organisation (ILO) norms, which the Union government has adopted in salary revisions for central government employees.

It said that the wage revision should be based on the Minimum Wages Formula without linking to profits or paying capacity.

The CBOA reasons that stagnation can set in employees if their wages are set according to promotions and said that they should have an opportunity to progress by way of merit rather than promotions, which are not in the individual officer's hands, and as such, a running scale without stagnation should be implemented.

Much like the bank union strikes, the CBOA also opposes the merger of Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank, quoting former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan's book "A hundred small steps", in which he advocated for introduction of Small Finance Banks, business correspondents for undertaking remittance services, permitting take over of PSBs by other PSBs till political will is found for allowing take over of a PSB by a private or foreign bank.

Citing that the SBI Officers' Association rejected the IBA's medical insurance scheme on the grounds of its own scheme being considered to be superior to the IBA's, the CBOA has demanded that an insurance scheme be launched on the lines of the SBI.