Bank privatisation: Final round of talks with govt fails, nationwide strike tomorrow
Final negotiations – to reach a conciliation – between the representatives of the bank employees and the government came to a dead end on Wednesday
Final negotiations – to reach a conciliation – between the representatives of the bank employees and the government came to a dead end on Wednesday.
A day before the nationwide bank strike, both sides met at the office of Additional Chief Labour Commissioner (Ministry of Labour) SC Joshi for the talks but failed to reach an agreement.
The last round of talks was held around 4 pm at Joshi’s office which was also attended by the representatives of the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) and Finance Ministry, NH has learned.
While Unions insisted that the government must initiate wider discussions on the issue with all stakeholders including bank employees during the meeting, the Labour Commissioner instructed the IBA to continue the dialogue with the Unions, said a source who was present in the meeting.
The representatives of the Finance Ministry tried to persuade the unions to call off the strike by explaining that except the announcement in the Budget, no concrete steps have been taken by the government.
The representatives of the Finance Ministry also said they were not sure when and whether the Bill will be taken up by the Parliament or not. Hence Unions should not proceed with their call for the strike.
After the meeting, the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) blamed the government for the impasse and said that the Union government did not give any assurance on Bank Privatisation Bill.
“Since the Government and IBA representatives could not give any assurance regarding the non-introduction of the Bill as sought for by us, we regretted our inability to accede to their appeal to withdraw our strike call,” said AIBEA.
“We reiterated our stand that if the Government would assure that the Bank Privatisation Bill (Banking Laws(Amendment) Bill, 2021) would not be tabled during this session of the Parliament, we would be inclined to reconsider the strike,” added AIBEA.
United Forum of Bank (UFB) – an umbrella body of nine powerful bank unions has given a call for the nationwide bank strike on December 16-17 against the Bank privatisation Bill.
“The strike is to defend and preserve public sector banks and oppose privatisation of Banks. We request all the customers and general public to stand with us in preserving the Banks and the huge savings of the people therein,” said AIEBA general secretary, CH Venkatachalam.
National Herald reported earlier that though the Modi government, perhaps, fearing a backlash has not tabled the Bank Privatisation Bill yet but it has been included in the agenda for the Winter Session.
Meanwhile, it has also come to the knowledge that public sector banks such as the Union Bank of India have issued circulars to their employees forbidding them to take part in the strike.
“All employees hereby are cautioned that their participating in the proposed strike on 16.12.2021 and 17.12.2021 would amount to a breach of their contract of service and the Bank will be constrained to take suitable action besides withholding of salary and emoluments,” Union Bank has warned.
“We tried our best to avert the strike to avoid inconvenience to the banking public. But because Government was not forthcoming, we have to implement the strike call,” added Venkatachalam.