Bank unions today said they will strongly oppose any voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) that is likely to be announced soon for the employees of five associate banks of State Bank of India, which will be merged on April 1. The five associate banks of SBI are State Bank of Bikaner & Jaipur, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Patiala and State Bank of Hyderabad. "They may announce a VRS any time now. As a matter of principle, we unions totally oppose the VRS. Earlier, the SBI chairperson had said there would be about 26,000 employees retiring in the next two years. "So, there is no need for VRS.
But now the bank has deviated from its word," State Sector Bank Employees Association general secretary KS Krishna told PTI here today. "Why is that the VRS is applicable only to the employees of associate banks? It should be applicable to all," the union leader said. Krishna said about 50 per cent of the total 73,000 workforce of the all five associate banks will meet the eligibility criteria for the proposed VRS -- which is those on the rolls and having put in 20 years or above 55 years. Eligible employees will be paid an ex-gratia amounting to 50 per cent of the salary for the residual period of service, subject to a maximum of 30 months salary, he said. "We will be educating our people. Our jobs should be protected. The VRS decision is unilateral. If they consult us, we will oppose it," he said, adding the merger process will not be smooth if the SBI management fails to take unions into confidence.