Bank unions to strike work on 29 July over privatisation, NPA muddle

Around a million public sector bank employees under the banner of the United Forum of Bank Unions will stage a one-day nationwide strike on 29 July in protest against the government's selective actions and inaction over the issues affecting the banking sector.

The strike is being called to oppose measures to merge public sector banks, appointment of private individuals as executives in public sector banks, and to oppose privatisation of public sector banks and banking sector reforms, said a top union leader of the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA).

The bank employees are demanding action against wilful corporate defaulters, C H Venkatachalam, general secretary, All India Bank Employees Association, said.

The United Forum of Bank Unions, the coordinating body of all employee and officer unions, gave the call at its meeting in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Privatisation, he said, would deprive the poor and common of banking services and necessary loan facilities.

''The central government is going ahead with the measures that would weaken the public sector banks, inadequate capital infusion, consolidation and merger apart from issuing new bank licences, privatisation of IDBI Bank and permitting more private capital in regional rural banks,'' Venkatachalam said..

This is at a time when total bad loans in the banking sector have gone up to Rs10,00,000 crore, he said, adding that the bulk of these bad loans are due from big corporate business houses.

No serious action is being taken by the government and RBI to recover these huge bad loans.  On the other hand, concessions are being given to them. Huge bad loans are being provided and written off from the profits of the banks and many lenders are forced to show losses, he alleged.

There are more than 7,000 deliberate and willful defaulters who owe Rs60,000 crore to the banks. Even their names are not being published. ''We want criminal action to be taken on these willful defaulters,'' said Venkatachalam.

The decision to go on strike on July 29 was taken in the meeting of the UFUB held today at Hyderabad.