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2.10 lakh employees go on indefinite strike from April 3

Written by: Staff
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Kolkata, Mar 30 (UNI) Banking services in 9,500 odd State Bank of India (SBI) branches throughout the country will come to halt indefinitely from April 3 in response to a nationwide strike called by the SBI Employees Associations.

Announcing their decision to go for the strike in the wake of the Union government's alleged adament attitudes towards meeting their demands, State Bank of India Officers' Association General Secretary S K Haldar and his counterpart in the SBI Staff Association Ashok Datta here today claimed that the entire workforce of the bank numbering a little more than 2,10,000 would join the indefinite strike from next Monday crippling services in all departments.

They also came down heavily on the role of the Union Finance Ministry for ignoring their demands for long including the revision of pension at the rate of 50 per cent of the last salary drawn of every retired employee and without having the clause of ceiling and payment of family pension at par with the industry rate.

They said since the SBI management had already agreed to their demand and had even recommended to the concerned ministry for its immediate clearance, the Union Finance Ministry had not been agreeing to it, resulting into the huge financial loss for retired SBI employees.

Moreover, Mr Haldar and Mr Datta claimed, that though SBI's centralised pension corpus had crossed the Rs 1,000 crores mark with the entire contributions coming from the Bank's annual profits, the additional expenses would cost the Bank only to the tune of Rs 400 crores.

Also describing alleged the adament attitute of the Union Ministry as ''totally unjustified'', both the union leaders claimed that they had no other option but to resort to a nationwide indefinite strike to press for their just demands, which had also received full support from the United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU), the conglomerate of all the nine major Bank unions in the country.

They, however, regretted the possible inconveniences of the common people and bank customers during the striking period.

Stating that the Indefinite strike from April three would be the fourth in the 200-year-old history of SBI after similar strikes were observed in 1946 (for 46 days), 1960 (for 21 days) and in 1969 (for 17 days) respectively, Mr Datta, however, hoped that considering a devastating impact of the strike in the national economy in the present era of globalisation, the Centre would respond positively by tomorrow to meet their demand.

The strike call could only be withdrawn in case the government agrees to meet our demands in toto by tomorrow, Mr Datta and Mr Haldar reiterated.

Meanwhile, as a last ditch effort to avert the crisis, the Central Labour Commissioner has convened a tripartite meeting in New Delhi tomorrow.

UNI ABA TJP VD DB2254

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