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Banks on Nationwide strike Today; Services to be Affected

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

Services of the state-owned banks are likely to be affected today (26th December) due to a nationwide strike against the proposed merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with the Bank of Baroda. To recall, this is the second bank strike in less than seven days.  On 21st December, an officers' union of state-run banks observed a day-long strike against the amalgamation and also asked for immediate settlement of wage negotiations. In order to avoid inconvenience, most of the banks had already informed their customers about the strike. Meantime, private banks will remain open and work as usual.

The strike has been called by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of 9 unions, which includes All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) and National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW). The UFBU claims membership of around 10 lakh officers and staffers.   

C H Vekatachalam, AIBEA General Secretary said the conciliation gathering that was called by Additional Chief Labour Commissioner did not lead to any guarantee and hence the unions are going ahead with the strike.   

He said neither the government nor the concerned banks came forward assuring that they will not proceed with the merger during the meeting. The unions said that the government wants banks to expand in size by such amalgamation but even though all public sector banks are combined into one, the merged entity will not get a place among the top 10 globally.

In September, the government approved the merger of Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank - the first three-way amalgamation in the public sector banking space.   

The move comes after State Bank of India (SBI) in 2017 merged five of its subsidiary banks with itself and also took over Bharatiya Mahila Bank.   

Regarding the wage revision, NOBW Vice President Ashwani Rana told that it is due since November 2017. Until now, Indian Banks' Association (IBA) has offered 8% wage hike which is not acceptable to UFBU, Rana said.

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