The Centre of Indian Trade Unions extends full support of the countrywide bank employees strike action to be staged on 22nd October 2019 at the joint initiative of All India Bank Employees Association(AIBEA) and Bank Employees’ Federation of India (BEFI) against the destructive decision of the BJP Govt on merger of public sector banks which is detrimental to the interests of the national economy and severely affect rather squeeze the state-owned banking service network in the country.  

In fact, this disastrous exercise is meant for drastically squeezing the public sector banks’ operational areas through inevitable closure of huge number of bank-branches, severely affecting employment and also affecting the spread-over and availability of banking services to common people particularly in comparatively remote areas, besides further weakening the concerned PSBs. As a result, the private sector banks including foreign banks will get more open field for their business in the urban areas; and the vast rural areas will be left virtually without any banking services. Also the Govt’s own scheme of direct benefit transfer (DBT) on various welfare measures in the rural areas is destined to get squeezed and infractuous; it will virtually deprive the poor of their legitimate benefits owing to non-availability and/or decline of the bank branches in the rural vicinity.

The experience of previous cases of merger of banks established the inevitability of such disastrous consequences. After merger of 5 Associate Banks with State Bank of India, around 1000 branched had been closed. Merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda is going to shut down around 800 more branches. A substantial section of those closed or going-to-be-closed branches are in the rural areas, where the private banks never tread even by mistake.

The merger of banks is being justified by the Govt on ground of strengthening and consolidating the concerned banks; but in reality such merger will further weaken all the banks post merger. Problems of public sector banks emanate from the deliberate default in loan-repayment by the big corporate houses and solution lies in stern action by the Govt for outright recovery of the huge loan amounts from defaulter corporates with penalty.  Instead, the Govt of the day is busy in legitimizing pilferage of bank money by the defaulter corporates through Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Procedure, forcing the public sector banks to sacrifice substantial portion their legitimate dues just to favour the defaulters. The Govt of the day is  actually engaged in destruction of the of the country’s financial service network which got widely expanded post nationalization of banks and insurance sector. This is detrimental to national interests.

CITU welcomes the initiative of the bank employees movement to fight and resist this damaging and destructive exercise by the BJP Govt at the centre and extends full support to the joint decisions of AIBEA and BEFI to go for countrywide strike on 22nd October 2019 as a part of their resistance struggle. CITU calls upon all the trade unions countrywide and CITU unions in particular to mobilize and hold solidarity demonstrations in front of banks in their respective area country wide on the day of the bank strike.

General Secretary 

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