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AITUC, CITU, others back SBI staff strike

THE INDEFINITE strike of the largest public sector bank has entered its fifth day, as the deadlock over the pension issue continued even today. Apart from other bank unions, Central and State trade unions like AITUC, CITU, Insurance Employees Union, MP Class III Employees Union and others have extended support to the SBI strike. Expressing solidarity, the trade unions jointly staged a demonstration at Local Head Office here on April 6.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 11:55 IST

THE INDEFINITE strike of the largest public sector bank has entered its fifth day, as the deadlock over the pension issue continued even today. Apart from other bank unions, Central and State trade unions like AITUC, CITU, Insurance Employees Union, MP Class III Employees Union and others have extended support to the SBI strike. Expressing solidarity, the trade unions jointly staged a demonstration at Local Head Office here on April 6.

Addressing demonstrators, joint secretary All India Bank Employees’ Association VK Sharma described it as a fight of trade unions. “We’re here to support SBI employees for their demands and any vindictive move by the Government will lead to lightning calls by the UFBU,” he cautioned.

“Until our demands are met, we are determined to continue with our strike, whatever might happen,” asserted SBI Workmen Union general secretary Pramod Naramdeo. He said despite RBI having cleared the proposal, the Finance Ministry has been trying to overlook it.

The strike is causing inconvenience to customers as nearly all the SBI ATMs in the State have gone cashless.
However, to deal with the situation, the SBI had already issued notice that SBI customers would be able to draw cash from the ATMs of a few other banks without paying any extra fees.

The SBI union has claimed that the indefinite strike has affected a business to the tune of Rs 5,500 crore per day in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

“It’s not just the transactions or clearings, but the earnings that the bank gets from charging fees on transactions and other modalities have got affected,” remarked union vice-president AN Banerjee. But, in trade circle, the effect of the strike was greatly felt.

SBI Officers Association’s general secretary Ravi Bilgaiyyan said the fight was not just for the 50 per cent pension on current basic salary, but for pensioners, who served the bank for 35-40 years.

Union sources also claimed that West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharya has spoken to Prime Minister to resolve the deadlock. Keeping fingers crossed, the SBI union is waiting for the High Court hearing on April 19.

The striking employees have appealed the Finance Minister and SBI Chairman AK Purwar not to give any false assurance. “Had the SBI management and Government been serious on this issue earlier, it would not have prolonged for 14 years,” they alleged.

1SBI employees’ demands: Pension to be calculated as 50 pc of the basic salary last drawn by a retiree with no upper ceiling. The present cap is Rs 4,250. Other demands include family pension & commutation.

2SBI Workmen Union general secretary P Naramdeo: Is the Finance Minister P Chidambaram trying to oblige private banks at the cost of SBI?

3SBI CGM S Bhattacharya: For the common man, the bank has tied up with PNB, Corporation Bank, UCO, Dena, HDFC, Indus Ind, UTI, Andhra and Indian Bank, so that one can draw cash from these ATMs using SBI card. No charge would be levied for withdrawing cash from these ATMs and SBI would take care of it, once it becomes operational.

First Published: Apr 08, 2006 11:55 IST