UFBU's proposed strike 'unjustified': FINMIN

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New Delhi, Sep 14 (UNI) Terming the United Forum of Bank Unions' (UFBU) proposed strike on September 24 and 25 as uncalled for and unjustified, the Government today reiterated its stance on the issue of privatisation of public sector banks, saying it will hold not less than 51 per cent of the equity in these banks.

The UFBU, representing nine employees, officers, unions and associations of the banks has given a notice of strike on the said dates protesting against banking sector reforms like privatisation of public sector banks, recommendations of Raghuram Rajan Committee and Anwarul Hoda Committee, merger of public sector banks and amendment to Banking Regulations Act and deletion of Section 12(2), which will enable full voting right to FDIs in banking sector.

Besides, the Union has also demanded expeditious implementation of the MoU dated February 25, 2008 between themselves and the Indian Banks' Association (IBA) on important issues like pension option, compassionate appointment and wage revision.

The Finance Ministry said in a statement that the strike will cause inconvenience to the public and jeopardise the image and interests of public sector banks, adding that the recommendations made by the Raghuram Rajan and the Anwarul Hoda Committees relating to development of the financial services sector are currently under discussion at different levels and no decisions have been taken so far.

On the issue of merger of Public Sector Banks, it said the initiatives for consolidation in the banking sector have to come from the management of banks themselves and the Centre will only play a supportive role as a common shareholder and no specific directions in this connection have been issued by the government or the RBI.

At present, the government has no proposals before it from banks for merger, the statement mentioned.

Regarding the amendments to the Banking Regulation Act and deletion of Section 12(2), it said a bill for removal of ceiling on voting rights by deleting sub-section (2) of section 12 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 was introduced in Parliament on May 13, 2005 and this amendment does not impact the ceiling on voting rights in public sector banks as there is no proposal to amend such ceiling provided in the acts administering them.

However, the amendment is necessary in order to give shareholders of private sector banks voting rights commensurate with the equity held by them and this is in accordance with the best international practices, the statement said, adding that the government wants the IBA and UFBU to expeditiously arrive at a mutually satisfactory settlement.

UNI SG AK NS1919

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