Bank unions call off strike

Written by Banking Bureau | Mumbai, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2008, 06:51am hrs
Bank unions called off their two-day strike, which was supposed to be held across the country on February 25 and 26, after they reached at a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IBA in connection with their various demands.

As per the MoU, the talks between the IBA and bank unions will begin on March 3. However, the second option for pension continues to be a contentious issue between the unions and the IBA.

While the IBA thinks that the second option for pension, if agreed, will put an extra burden on the bank's kitty to the extent of Rs 26,000 crore, whereas the figure as per the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) is Rs 4,700 crore.

Briefing the media after holding a meeting with the UFBU, HN Sinor, chief executive officer, IBA, said, "It is difficult to talk about the end-stage at this point of time."

Sinor maintained that the information and calculation on pension would take one and half months time from now. On the ninth bipartite, Sinor said, "We are waiting for the mandate to come from 7-8 banks before we start working on it."

Prior to it, CH Venkatachalam, convenor, UFBU, said that no guideline was given by the government on the consolidation of state-run banks.

Even after the passage of six months, when the resolutions were passed by the State Bank of India (SBI) to merge its own wing, State Bank of Saurashtra, the consolidation process was yet to start.

He claimed success in stalling government initiatives on consolidation.

"We have been assured that government will not issue any instructions on consolidation," he said.

On pension issue, Venkatachalam said that 85,000 bank employees were still out of the pension cover and were continuing to go for contributory provident fund. Hence if allowed through second option they were ready to opt for pension.

Similarly, nearly 1% of bank staff were waiting for the appointment on compassionate grounds. "IBA has also agreed to discuss with us how to stop the outsourcing of those jobs that are normally handled by the permanent employees," he said.

"Outsourcing in a big way will simply mean burning out of our youth," said Venkatachalam.