More than 50,000 employees did not work on Thursday at about 6,000 bank branches of five SBI group banks as All Associate Banks of SBI, the employees' union, called a strike.
The union will again observe the same on June 24 as the conciliation meeting with the SBI management fizzled out in New Delhi at the Central Labour Commissioner a few days ago.
"Only a general manager attended the meeting on behalf of SBI without giving any concrete assurance to our demands," said Sudesh Karkera, vice president, Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation, who is also an employee of State Bank of Mysore.
"We will extend our protest unless our matters are addressed. On June 24, other state-owned lenders too will join the strike call," he said.
"All associate banks are profitable. We will be treated with step-motherly attitude if we are merged with the parent bank."
With this customers will face trouble in transacting at branches as banking services cripple on strike calls.
So far SBI has merged State Bank of Surastra and State bank of Indore in past few years. Plans are on the anvil to follow the same process with State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Travancore, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Patiala.
The move is aimed at raising the rank of SBI in the international arena. With market capitalization of US$38 billion, SBI is now ranked 46th globally.
Moreover, Indian banking industry strewn with many local small banks needs consolidation, say experts.
Some of the union demands include the inclusion of retired employees into the union-fold as SBI management has apparently declined to recognize retired employees as union representatives, said the union leader.
"In terms of emoluments and benefits, there is a huge difference between SBI employees and associate employees," said Karkera.
For example, SBI employees get up to Rs 45 lakh as home loan from the bank while group bank employees are entitled to have Rs 12 lakh only, he cited.
Source : Economic Times