70,000 bank employees in Gujarat to go on strike on December 26
Ahmedabad: Bank employees across public sector banks in Gujarat are set to go on strike on December 26. Public sector banks will remain closed as a mark of protest by bank employees, at the proposed amalgamation of three public sector banks – Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank. According to estimates by Maha Gujarat Bank Employees Association (MGBEA), some 70,000 bank employees across the state will participate in the strike, which has been called by All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA).
“Employees of all the public sector banks in Gujarat will go on strike to protest the proposed amalgamation of the three banks. The amalgamation will only shrink the number of public sector banks in the state. It is public sector banks that ultimately implement government-schemes,” said Janak Rawal, general secretary of MGBEA.
Banks across the state will thus remain closed for two straight days i.e. on December 25 (for Christmas) and December 26.
“When the government is talking about bringing all citizens under the banking system, what we need is expansion of the banking sector and not amalgamation and consolidation,” a statement issued by AIBEA reads.
Citing the merger of six banks with State Bank of India, the statement further states, “There is no evidence so far that consolidation of banks would result in any benefit. SBI is bound by compulsion to shut down branches and restructure operations. This in turn has reduced the employment potential of the bank, due to surplus staff. Moreover, SBI is also facing enhanced stress of bad loans.”
“Similarly, the proposed merger of Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank will not help. Merger or amalgamation is no solution to recover bad loans. In fact, under the merged entity, the recovery is bound to go haywire,” the statement further adds.
In the run up to the day of the strike, bankers are also planning major demonstrations in the city. “Bank employees will wear badges to protest to the merger on December 18. We will also hold centralized demonstrations on December 24,” Rawal added.