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SBI strike continues for fourth day, employees reject FM plea

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 6 (UNI) The indefinite strike by an estimated 2.10 lakh workers and officers of the State Bank of India (SBI) continued for the fourth day today, with the employees rejecting Finance Minister P Chidambaram's appeal to resume duty till their demands were met.

Mr Chidambaram had appealed to the agitating SBI employees to give up their protest as the strike was inconveniencing the people.

''There is no justification at all in troubling the people by continuing the strike,''Mr Chidambaram said.

Mr Chidambaram said the Central Labour Commissioner was seized of the issue.

Rejecting the appeal, SBI employees union sources said,''we will continue with the agitation till the government gives a promise to fulfill our demands.'' The striking SBI employees this morning held a demonstration at Jantar Mantar.

The sources said the SBI officers would hold another demonstration at the same place tomorrow in support of their demands, including revision of the pension scheme.

The All India State Bank of India Staff Federation and the All India State Bank of India's Officers' Federation, claimed that operations in branches, including nearly 1,000 in the Delhi region, are being affected by the strike.

Sources in the federation claimed that the entire operations' system has been paralysed due to the strike.

On the move by the governemnt to allow SBI employees to deposit their cheques in other banks, they said it would not be of any help as the SBI server has been jammed by the striking employees.

The nationwide strike comes in the wake of the government's failure to address the long-pending issue of the pension scheme, awaiting revision for the past 14 years.

The decision to go on strike was taken after the talks on Friday and Saturday failed between the employee federations, the government and the Chief Labour Commissioner.

The government had invited the federations for talks to resolve the issue as a last-ditch attempt to ward off the strike in the country's largest bank.

In fact, negotiations were on between the federations and the Government till late Sunday night but they failed to avert the strike, Mr Gupta said.

According to bank sources, while pension was revised and updated in the case of the several associate banks of SBI, it was not undertaken for the SBI employees.

The strike is in response to a call given by the Joint Action Committee(JAC) comprising All India State Bank Officers' Federation (AISBOF) and All India State Bank of India Staff Federation (AISBISF).

UNI AR PM RAI2049

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