Banks to remain open on 26-27 Sept as unions call off strike
24 September 2019
Bank unions have called off their two-day strike that was to begin from Thursday, in a big relief to customers. The strike, if it was carried on, would have affected banking operations for four consecutive from Thursday to Sunday (Saturday being the fourth in the month).
The unions announced their decision to call off the strike after a meeting with finance secretary Rajeev Kumar in New Delhi today.
“Our delegation met finance secretary Rajeev Kumar, with whom the issues related to mergers, wage revision, introduction of a five day week and reduction in cash transaction hours were discussed in detail and his response was positive to finding workable solutions,” according to a joint statement by the four bank unions.
“In view of the consideration of a positive and workable solution by the finance secretary, the 48-hour strike from midnight of September 25 to 28 stands deferred,” AIBOC, AIBOA, INBOC and NOBO said in a joint statement.
Four large bank unions – All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA), Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress (INBOC), and National Organisation of Bank Officers had called for a 48-hour strike beginning Thursday to protest the government’s decision to merge six public sector banks with four larger PSU banks.
“Finance secretary was positive in formation of a committee of all stakeholders to address the issue arising due to 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,” said the bank unions in the joint statement.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month announced the third round of merger and consolidation among public sector banks.
In this round, a total of six banks will be merged with four larger public sector banks. In addition to the merger of OBC and UBI with PNB, Syndicate Bank will merge with Canara Bank, while Corporation Bank and Andhra Bank will merge with Union Bank of India and Allahabad Bank will merge with the Indian Bank.
With the latest round of merger, the number of public sector banks will come down to 12.
In 2017, the government merged five associate banks of State Bank of India and Mahila Bank with the SBI. In the second round, the government cleared the merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda. The two mergers did not, however, face much employee resistance
The third round of mergers has been vehemently opposed by the bank unions. However, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman was confident of persuading the unions to postpone the strike following a meeting with the heads of public sector banks in New Delhi last Thursday.