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SBI staff strike from today

WITH THE issue of revision of pension still in deadlock, more than 2.10 lakh officials and employees and 75,000 pensioners of State Bank of India across the country would go on a nationwide indefinite strike from April 3. The seven associate banks of the SBI would not join the strike.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2006 13:54 IST

WITH THE issue of revision of pension still in deadlock, more than 2.10 lakh officials and employees and 75,000 pensioners of State Bank of India across the country would go on a nationwide indefinite strike from April 3. The seven associate banks of the SBI would not join the strike.

Responding to the call given jointly by the All India SBI Officers’ Association and SBI Workmen Union, 9022 branches and offices of the SBI (MP and Chhattisgarh 687) would remain closed, bringing a large-scale transaction to a complete halt. The indefinite strike has been supported by other bank unions including the largest AIBEA. 

Addressing the media, Officers’ Association general secretary Ravi Bilgaiyyan said despite the top bank management, labour minister, CLC and IBA agreeing to their long-standing demand of pension-revision, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram has reportedly said ‘no’ to it.

“The issue has been pending since 1992. While the other public sector banks are giving pension on revised basic salary after an employee’s retirement, the SBI has not bothered to follow it,” he alleged.

Bilgaiyyan said the neither the Central Government nor the SBI management have to pay the pension amount from their funds. Instead, it would be paid from the SBI’s pension corpus having more than Rs 20,000 crore. “There won’t be any additional fiscal burden on them, if the demand was accepted. Another important demand is related to family pension, which hasn’t been revised for the last 20 years,” he pointed out.  

The SBI unions would stage a demonstration at LHO premises on April 3. “If the issue is not sorted out amicably, SBI officers and employees would continue with the strike for an indefinite period,”

said Workmen Association’s general secretary Pramod Naramdeo. Meanwhile, the SBI management and employees are still expecting a last-moment change, provided the FM agrees to their demand. “There might be some late-night decision, which could defer the strike,” said an Association member.  

To deal with the situation, especially in the first week of the month, the SBI kept its branches, both master and CBS in MP and Chhattisgarh, opened to disburse salaries and pensions to government employees and pensioners today.

Speaking to the Hindustan Times, SBI (MP & Chhattisgarh) chief general manager  S Bhattacharya said all SBI ATMs have been fed with cash and in case the ATMs go cashless due to strike, an SBI customer can draw money from other banks’ ATMs by using SBI card. “The bank management has agreed to reimburse the fees to respective banks and it would not be charged to our customers,” he said.

“Our staff members worked on Sunday to disburse salaries to government employees to avoid crisis,” added Bhattacharya.   According to sources, a PIL has been filed with the High Court against the said strike and the hearing would take place on April 3. 

 

The cause and effect
Issue: According to the associations, in 1992, SBI fixed a maximum ceiling of Rs 4,250 for the pension. The pension is given on the basis of 50 per cent of the last salary drawn by a retiring SBI employee.

Though the salary structure got revised in SBI, the calculation to provide pension is based on the past salary, instead of the present one. Since pre-independence era, SBI and Allahabad Bank have been enjoying three benefits – contributory provident fund (CPF) and gratuity and pension — unlike its counterparts who get PF and pension. Associations have been demanding revision since 1993. 


Demand: Pension to be calculated as ’50 per cent of the basic salary last drawn during retirement’, with no upper ceiling. Deadlock: As per the SBI Act 1955, the Union Finance Minister needs to give clearance to it. The FM is not convinced. 

Effect of strike: At all-India level transactions to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore and at Bhopal Circle level nearly Rs 5,500 crore a day would get affected due to branches and clearing houses remaining closed. 

For customers: Customers can draw cash by using SBI ATM cards from the ATMs of following banks, without paying any fee: Corporation, PNB, UCO, Dena, Indus Ind, UTI, HDFC, Andhra & Indian.