Services crippled at Central Bank of India due to employees’ strike

The two-day nationwide strike was called by the employees to protest against mass transfers which they attributed to ‘vindictiveness’ on part of the bank management

Services crippled at Central Bank of India due to employees’ strike

NH Political Bureau

Services at the Central Bank of India remained crippled for the second consecutive day on Tuesday due to a two-day nationwide strike called by its employees to protest against mass transfers which they claimed was a ‘vindictive’ act by the bank management. 

The second strike within four months has again turned the spotlight on the growing disquiet among PSB employees over the 'reforms' in the banking sector launched by the Modi government in 2019.  

 Though the government claims that the ‘reforms’ seek to make PSBs more efficient, employees allege that the reforms were actually aimed at cutting PSBs to size to help private players grow.  

Currently, there are seven large PSBs and five smaller ones in India. Ten PSBs were merged into four as part of the first phase of the ‘reforms’. The number of governments-run banks was brought down to 12 as compared with 27 in 2017. 

The All-India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) said on Tuesday that employees enthusiastically participated in the strike and vowed to fight the transfer policy which it said stood in contravention of the Industrial Dispute Act.  

More than 3,300 employees were transferred in April this year.  

Speaking to National Herald, AIEBA general secretary C H Ventakchalam said, “Mass transfer is against the Bipartite Settlement, according to which, clerical employees can be transferred from one station to another only in case there is surplus staff in a station and there is corresponding deficit”.  

He said a conciliation meeting was held in May in Mumbai between the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner and the employees, following which the management had agreed to issue new transfer orders of employees who make a representation. However, the Central Bank of India’s management had not taken any further action, he claimed. 

“Because of this anti-labour policy of the management, the employees were forced to go on strike,” he added.  

Sources said as many as 972 employees, including about 250 lady employees, had made representations seeking a re-transfer, but the management did not fulfil its commitment.  

National Herald had reported in May this year that 600 branches of the Central Bank of India were closed down by the management, following which employees went on a two-day strike in May also

Though the government promised to resolve the stalemate with the employees, AIEBA said the management had a “non-committal approach leading to growing dissatisfaction among employees”. 

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