A significant number of IDBI Bank's nearly 18,000 staffers, including officers, will strike work from Monday as a protest at the government's plan to divest stake in the lender.
The employees have demanded a written assurance from the government that its stake in IDBI Bank will not be reduced below 51 per cent. The government currently has 72 per cent shareholding in the bank.
The strike has support from all major trade unions, including the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-supported Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS). In Delhi, officers and employees will hold a protest at the Jantar Mantar, a popular agitation venue. They're likely to be joined by leaders of BMS, the Congress-affiliated Indian Trade Union Congress and Left unions All India Trade Union Congress and Centre for Indian Trade Unions.
The All India IDBI Officers' Association has given a call for a four-day strike; the Employees' Association will observe a day's strike on Monday. Unions and management had two inconclusive conciliation meetings with the labour commissioner in Mumbai on March 18 and 21.
This is the second such strike on the issue. The first was one in November, when the government had first proposed reducing its stake. On February 29, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech had said: "The process of transformation of IDBI Bank has already started. The government will take it forward and also consider the option of reducing its stake to below 50 per cent."
Said a seniuor IDBI official: "We have spoken to employees and asked them to call off their strike, as it is (the financial) year-end. We also held meetings with the employees and have spoken to them at length."
The unions have demanded that orders to suspend officers who'd during the meetings put forth the point of view of others against the government's decision be rescinded. "We are opposed to the government move. The government needs to consult all stakeholders, including the unions, before taking any decision. We are against this 'trial and error' method to privatise banks because of increasing non-performing assets without any intent to make it work," said Ashwini Rana, vice-president, National Organisation of Bank Workers, affiliated to BMS.
IN A NUTSHELL
Employees have demanded a written assurance from the govt that its stake in IDBI Bank will not be reduced below 51%
The govt currently has 72% shareholding in the bank
The stir has support from all major trade unions, including the RSS-supported BMS
- This is the second such strike on the issue