Trade unions of public sector banks (PSBs) on Monday decided to withdraw a two-day nationwide strike slated to begin from Wednesday.
The unions called off the strike after holding a meeting with Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar in which they were assured that a committee will be set up to address issues arising out of the proposed amalgamation of 10 PSBs into four.
“The finance secretary was positive in formation of a committee consisting of all concerned to address the issues arising out of the proposed merger of 10 banks, including preserving the identity of all the banks. An appeal was made to us to revisit our strike call in view of the discussions,” a statement issued by four unions, which had given the strike call, said.
The All India Banks Officers’ Confederation, the All India Banks Officers’ Association (AIBOA), the Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress and the National Organisation of Bank Officers had called for a two-day strike opposing the amalgamation of banks.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had last month announced merger of four banks. Punjab National Bank (PNB) will take over Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and United Bank of India to become the country’s second-largest lender after State Bank of India (SBI) in terms of business. Canara Bank will subsume Syndicate Bank; Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will merge with Union Bank of India; and Allahabad Bank will become part of Indian Bank.
“We have been further assured that officers of all scales will be covered during the ongoing wage negotiations between the bank management and unions. This is a positive development,” AIBOA general secretary Nagarajan S said.
The current wage revision is due from November 2017, after the terms of the previous bipartite wage settlement ended in October 2017. In the last wage revision in 2012, which was for the period between November 1, 2012 and October 31, 2017, when bank employees got a 15 per cent wage hike.
However, in the ongoing wage negotiations, six public sector banks (PSBs), including State Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, and Union Bank, had decided to restrict wage negotiations to scale-III officers or up to the senior manager-level.
Bank unions are demanding a wage hike for officers up to scale-VII grade, which include general managers, deputy general managers, assistant general manager and divisional managers.