IDBI Bank has transferred and suspended nearly 75 employees after the large strike that was called in March to protest against the privatization of the state-owned bank.
Employee unions have objected to the action against the officers, precipitating a situation that threatens to derail the process of privatisation. The government plans to showcase the IDBI Bank as a model of its plan to gradually reduce the government’s shareholding in the bank to below 50%.
C H Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All-India Bank Employees Association said, “There have been 15 suspensions and about 60 officers have been transferred last week. They were participating in the trade union’s protest and led the strikes. This action could be in retaliation to the strike. We have already spoken to the management and written to the MD on revocation of the suspensions.”
Opposing the government’s move announced in the Union Budget to dilute government stake in IDBI Bank to less than 50%, the AIBEA and All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) had given a strike call on March 28.
Union leaders claim that the suspension and transfers were taken against officers up to Scale VI on the grounds that the officers misbehaved and were spreading messages against the management.
The bank management did not respond to queries sent by HT.
R S Athalye, general secretary, All India IDBI Officers Association said, “Technically suspensions are not illegal but this has been a precautionary action against more such strikes against the interest of the management. We have objected to this action though the management claims they are not vindictive transfers. Some suspended officers have approached us and we will go through the details of their charge sheet notices and take it up with the bank again.”
In his Budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley had said that the government would reduce its stake in IDBI Bank to below 50% and would also look at consolidating existing banks. Shares of IDBI Bank had started rallying after the announcement and there were media reports suggesting that the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank, was keen on bidding for a share in the bank.