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Govt, SBI staff fail to reach consensus

"Unless we are given an honourable settlement, strike will continue," said union head after first round of talks.

india Updated: Apr 09, 2006 20:57 IST

The Government and the State Bank of India (SBI) management on Sunday held the first round of talks with the striking SBI employees on their demand for higher pension.

However, the staff union said there was no change in the Government's position to enable them to end the strike.

"Unless we are given an honourable settlement the strike will continue," All India SBI Officers Federation General Secretary Shanta Raju said after the meeting.

The union stand remains intact vis-a-vis Rs 13,000 pension per month as the cut-off point. However, the Government was willing to give Rs 9,500 only, which covers only 50 per cent of lower staff, he said.

Raju also said Finance Ministry was misleading by saying that SBI employees get three retirement benefits - gratuity, pension and contributory provident fund, against two benefits for employees of other PSU banks who get only gratuity and pension/provident fund.

"This position is there for the last so many years and we are willing to settle the issue of higher pension within that framework," he said.

SBI Chairman AK Purwar, Banking Secretary Vinod Rai and GC Chaturvedi, Joint Secretary (Industrial Relations) in Finance Ministry, were among those who attended the meeting.

The meeting was called by Finance Minister P Chidambaram after striking employees and management failed to arrive at an agreement during their talks in Mumbai last night.

Over two lakh employees of the country's largest commercial bank have been on strike for the seventh day today demanding across the board pension hike to the tune of 50 per cent of the last salary drawn.

First Published: Apr 09, 2006 11:20 IST