Bank strike deferred indefinitely; govt panel to look into issues of merger, pay

The nationwide two-day strike called by four public sector bank unions has been deferred indefinitely. A statement to this effect was issued by the unions after their representatives met Union Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar in New Delhi on Monday.

Following their meeting with the Finance Secretary, the union leaders stated that the government has agreed to form a committee to look into the concerns raised by them.

Four bank unions – All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA), All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO), and Indian National Bank Officers’ Congress (INBOC) – had threatened to go

on a two-day strike on September 26 and 27 to protest against the consolidation of 10 state-run banks into four. The unions had also demanded a revision in the employees’ wages as well as a hike in their pensions.

On August 30, as part of measures to revive the flagging economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced a series of mergers among public sector banks to create financially sound and globally competitive lenders. The government has promised that there will be no retrenchment during or after the process of meger.

In this round of bank consolidation, United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce are to be merged with Punjab National Bank, making the amalgamated entity the second largest public sector bank. Allahabad Bank will be merged with Indian Bank, whereas Andhra Bank will take over Corporation Bank and Union Bank of India. Meanwhile, Canara Bank will be merged with Syndicate Bank.

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