The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), the umbrella organisation of five employee unions and four officer unions of state-run banks in the country, has given notice of their decision to go on nationwide strike on 22 August 2017 to protest reforms in the banking sector and other issues.
"The UFBU has observed that instead of taking urgent remedial measures to recover the alarmingly increasing bad loans in the banks which are threatening to drive the banks into a serious crisis. Steps like memorandum of understanding (MoU), prompt corrective action (PCA), Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill, Ordnance on non-performing assets (NPAs), and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) are only aimed to clean the balance sheets at the cost of the banks, which represent hard earned savings of the people, instead of recovering money," says CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary of All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA).
About 10 lakh bank employees from nine unions, AIBEA, All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), National Confederation of Bank Employees (NCBE), All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA), Bank Employees Federation Of India (BEFI), Indian National Bank Employees Federation (INBEF), Indian National Bank Officers Congress (INBOC), National Organisation Of Bank Workers (NOBW) and National Organisation Of Bank Officers (NOBO) will observe the strike on 22nd August.
"We have given a strike notice. The strike will be on 22 August 2017 spread over the entire banking sector," Mr Venkatachalam said, adding, "…it is observed that the burden of the corporate NPAs are put on the shoulders of the common public and banking clientele in the form of hike in fees, charges, and penalties for every type of normal banking services."
Recently State Bank of India (SBI) and Bank of Baroda have reduced the rate of interest on savings deposits. SBI, the largest state-run lender in the country has said that they will gain Rs4,400 crore per year by reducing savings deposit interest but see how much they have sacrificed by write off of bad loans of big corporates, Mr Venkatachalam added.
Bad loans written off by SBI Group in last five years: Rs93,041 crore
Mr Venkatachalam said, "It is robbing Peter to pay Paul. People should not be penalised for corporate default and banks inability to recover those loans."
The UFBU has been taking note of the developments taking place in the banking sector in the name of implementing the banking reforms agenda of the Government. "While denying the public sector banks (PSBs) of adequate capital thus restricting their business expansion, freely licences are being given to the corporate houses to open private banks, small banks, and payment banks, thus weakening the public sector banks. UFBU feels that very tough measures are required including criminal action on wilful defaulters to recover the huge bad loans given to the corporate houses, big business and top industrialists," a statement from the umbrella organisation said.
The UFBU, comprising nine unions in the banking sector, also urged the Indian Banks Association (IBA) to expedite wage revision and other issues.
Here are the 17 demands of the bank employee unions...
1 Do not privatise Public Sector Banks
2 Stop plans of mergers and consolidation of Banks
3 Do not write off corporate Non-Performing Assets (NPAs)
4 Declare wilful Default of Bank loans as criminal offence
5 Implement recommendations of Parliamentary Committee on recovery of NPAs
6 Ensure accountability of Top Management/Executives for bad loans and put in place stringent measures to recover bad loans.
7 Withdraw proposed FRDI Bill
8 Abolish Banks Board Bureau
9 Do not pass on the burden of corporate NPAs on bank customers by hiking charges
10 Do not increase Service Charges in the name of GST
11 Reimbursement of cost of demonetization and other Government Schemes to Banks by the Government.
12 Settle issues of Employees and Officers connected with demonetisation scheme.
13 Immediately fill up posts of Employee/Officer Director(s) in Bank(s)
14 Implement Compassionate Appointment Schemes in Banks as per Government guidelines.
15 Removal of Gratuity Ceiling under Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 & Total Exemption of Income Tax on Gratuity and Leave Encashment on retirement
16 Pension related issues Improvements in Pension Scheme similar to RBI/Central Government including for past retirees - Extension of erstwhile Pension Scheme in banks in lieu of NPS - Follow-up of Record Note dated 25 May 2015
17 Adequate Recruitment in all cadres