SBI's indefinite strike enters day 2, millions inconvenienced
Kolkata, Apr 04 (UNI) State Bank of India's nationwide indefinite strike entered the second day today crippling the financial market besides, inconveniencing millions of customers.
Both the union government and the SBI Officers' and Employees' union leaders, representing the bank's over 2.10 lakh employees, are sticking to their stand. Consequently the worst sufferers are the people, particularly pensioners and salaried class, whose financial transactions through SBI's 9500 odd braches across the country had come to a halt since yesterday.
As no SBI cheques were being cleared in any of the Reserve Bank of India branches in the country,the bank's ATMs were not operating as cash kept in them had already been exhausted.
Meanwhile, SBI employees in all the 786 branches in the state have joined their colleagues elsewhere in the country in staging demonstrations and holding dharnas in front of their respective offices to press the government for their demand.
The SBI employees resorted to the strike, the fourth in the bank's 200 year old history, to press for immediate revision of individual and family pension ceiling of retired employees in accordance with the present market rate.
Claiming that post retirement financial benefits of SBI employees are among the lowest in the country,SBI Staff Association General Secretary Ashok Dutta said the strike would continue till the union finance minister met their demand. He said it would not cause any additional expense to the national exchequer.
"When the Bank management had agreed to meet the demand and recommended it to the government, we wonder why the union finance ministry is not agreeing to it," Mr Dutta told UNI.
Incidentally,the SBI has already set up a separate pension corpus of Rs 1,000 crores through systematic contributions from the Bank's annual profit a few years ago and in case of any increase in the ceiling the bank's additional burden would be to the tune of only Rs 400 crores.
UNI ABA PL RN 1651