Thursday, January 24, 2008

Bank to go on strike on Jan 25

A senior union official said that banking services across India will be affected on January 25 as a day-long nation-wide strike has been called by the umbrella body of all bank unions.

Convener of United Forum of Bank Unions, C.H. Venkatachalam, said the unions, representing about 900,000 employees, also have plan to go on a two-day strike from Feb 25 if their demands were not met and on an indefinite strike from March-end.

He said all state-run, private sector and Indian operations of foreign banks will be affected by the strike but co-operative and regional rural banks have been kept out of the strike.

Meanwhile the Chief Labor Commissioner has called for a tripartite meeting with the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) and unions on Wednesday in New Delhi in order to try and resolve the matter.

The unions are opposing to the mergers among public sector banks including associate banks, outsourcing and contractual employment, as well other issues.

He told that they have also sought for one more opportunity to go for for pension schemes for those who did not opt earlier, besides compassionate recruitment.

"The issues have been lingering for months and years," Venkatachalam told Reuters from the southern city of Chennai.

An IBA official said it is not possible to tackle all their demands except that on wage revision, which the unions have demanded for an early settlement.

"We are in the process," said IBA's senior vice-president and chief advisor (personnel), G. Sankaranarayanan, adding the proposal was received recently and mandates were being sought from member banks.

On being asked about the issue of compassionate appointment, whereby the next-of-kin of deceased staff were employed directly, he said it is no longer possible on a one-to-one basis but can be considered only on the basis of need of the respective bank.

He further added because of financial costs it would be difficult to open up the pension scheme in its present form for those employees who did not opt for it earlier.

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