THE UNITED Forum of Bank Unions, an umbrella organisation of all the nine trade unions in the banking industry, has given an all-India strike call on October 27 against the policies of the Central Government affecting the sector and bank employees.
Addressing a press conference here today, All-India Bank Employees’ Association General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said the banks would go on strike to protest the privatisation in banks by reducing government’s shareholding, merger of banks and government’s decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the banks up to 74 per cent of the capital.
He said AIBEA opposes the Tarapore Committee recommendations like Public Sector Banks (PSBs) should be incorporated under the Companies Act, Reserve Bank of India’s share in SBI should be reduced to 33 per cent, merger of PSBs, industrial houses should be allowed to promote new banks, non-banking finance companies to be converted into banks etc.
“It is a kind of nexus between the large corporates and banks, under which the corporates usurp public money in their interest,” Venkatachalam alleged.
Referring to the functioning of private and new generation banks, he said they hardly bother to extend credits to priority sectors. Furnishing a list of 20 private banks that failed in the recent years, he said a demand has been made to take over the United Western Bank and Lord Krishna Bank by PSBs.
On the Securitisation Act, the AIBEA leader said though it is a good beginning, lots of teeth were needed to make it more effective.
“Amendments should be made to attach personal properties of borrowers as loans are often converted into personal assets,” he alleged. He also condemned the writing-off of bad loans by banks, stating that in a decade Rs 75,000 crore has been written-off, which is public money.
Later speaking to Hindustan Times, Venkatachalam said a call for nationwide general strike has been given jointly by eight Central trade unions and 40 independent trade unions to press for issues like remunerative prices to agri-sector, financial guarantee for people in unorganised sector, banking issues, insurance, electricity, improving working conditions for women, better labour laws and privatisation.
In the evening, Venkatachalam and other AIBEA leaders addressed the gathering at Ravindra Bhawan on challenges before the Indian banking industry and other related issues.