Bank unions call off two-day strike

February 25th, 2008 - 4:19 pm ICT by admin  

(Second Lead)

Mumbai/Chennai, Feb 25 (IANS) A two-day strike planned by 900,000 employees of all major banks in India to protest the proposed amalgamation of the State Bank of India (SBI) with its associates was called off Monday, much to the relief of customers and the financial system at large. “We have called off the strike for now. We will hold discussions with the Indian Banks Association (IBA) to reach an understanding,” C.H. Venkatachalam, convenor of the United Forum of Bank Unions, said in Mumbai.

The association, an umbrella organisation for nine major bank unions, feels the merger of India’s largest commercial banks with its associates will result in the shutting down of several bank branches across the country.

The association said the issues on which the strike was called were still live - another option for banks to join a pension scheme, ban on outsourcing of banking activity and stopping the merger of banks.

They also want the freeze on new recruitment in the banking sector to be lifted and had launched a daylong strike Jan 25 that had resulted in total disruption of operations in nearly 50,000 branches across the country.

“Both the parties, bank management and the unions, should sit and sort out the matter instead of procrastinating,” said R. Desikan, trustee of the Consumers’ Association of India in Chennai.

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