In an attempt to block future attempts to merge State Bank of India (SBI) and its subsidiaries, bank unions have called for a nationwide strike on June 24. They are demanding that associate banks be delinked from the SBI Act and allowed to function under the Banking Regulation Act.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Vishwas Utagi, vice-president, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), said the first strike will be held by 50,000 employees of SBI associate banks on Thursday, June 4.
He added that if their demands were not met then, an all-India bank strike is planned on June 24. SBI subsidiaries include State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Travancore (SBT), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) and State Bank of Patiala (SBP).
“We demand the delinking of five associate banks from the SBI Act. Of late, we have found that the government and SBI want to absorb the associate banks into the parent and we want these banks out of SBI ambit,” Utagi said, adding that since SBI has brought all its subsidiaries under the same technology platform, it now wants to standardise the HR policies as well so that the merger could be done smoothly.
He said since SBI has already merged two subsidiaries — State Bank of Saurashtra in 2008 and State Bank of Indore in 2010 — it now wants to acquire the rest. He also alleged that SBI has not allowed the trade unions in these banks to negotiate on behalf of the staff.
“The employees of SBI subsidiaries want separate HR policies from SBI and also do not want SBI’s career progression imposed on them,” Utagi said.