Services of state-owned banks are expected to be impacted on Wednesday due to a nation-wide strike call given by unions to protest against the proposed amalgamation of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda. This is the second bank strike in less than a week. Last Friday (December 21), an officers' union of state-run banks observed a day-long strike to protest against the merger and also demanded immediate settlement of wage negotiations. Most of the banks have already informed customers about the strike.
The strike is being organised by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella organisation of nine unions, including the All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE) and the National Organisation of Bank Workers (NOBW). The UFBU claims membership of 10 lakh officers and staffers.
According to AIBEA General Secretary C H Vekatachalam, the conciliation meeting called by Additional Chief Labour Commissioner did not lead to any assurance and so the unions are going ahead with the strike.
During the meeting, neither the government nor the concerned banks came forward to assure that they will not go ahead with the merger, he added. The unions claim that the government wants banks to grow in size by such mergers but even if all public sector banks are bundled into one, the merged entity will not find a place among the top 10 globally.
The government in September approved the amalgamation of Bank of Baroda (BoB), Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank -- the first three-way merger in the public sector banking space.
The move follows top lender State Bank of India last year merging five of its subsidiary banks with itself and taking over Bharatiya Mahila Bank, catapulting it to among the top 50 global lenders.
On wage revision, NOBW Vice President Ashwani Rana it is due since November 2017. So far, Indian Banks' Association (IBA) has offered 8 per cent wage hike which is not acceptable to UFBU, he said.