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SBI strike continues for sixth day

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 8 (UNI) The indefinite strike by an estimated 2.10 lakh workers and officers of the State Bank of India (SBI) across the country continued for the sixth day today, crippling bank services.

The striking SBI employees, from 9,022 branches, are demanding a revision of the pension rate.

Scores of people, especially pensioners and government employees, have not been able to encash their cheques due to the strike.

The striking SBI employees said they will continue with the agitation till the government accepted their demands.

''We will continue with the agitation till the government fulfills our demands,'' All India State Bank of India Staff Federation (AISBISF) Vice President V K Gupta said.

The All India State Bank of India Staff Federation (AISBISF) and the All India State Bank of India's Officers' Federation (AISBIOF), which have jointly called the strike, claimed that operations in branches, are being affected by the agitation.

The Federations dismissed as baseless media reports that the striking employees had received a counter-offer from the management or the government.

Meanwhile a Mumbai report said, AISBISF secretary P K Patnaik has stated that the federations were willing to call off the six-day strike, provided the Government agreed to their ''scaled-down demands'' as an interim measure.

The union representatives are expected to meet SBI Chairman and Managing Director A K Purwar today.

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 March 31 and April 1 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 night on April 2 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 United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU) has decided to hold a protest march to Parliament on April 10 to extend support to the striking SBI employees.

The UFBU also threatened to give a call for strike if the legitimate demands of SBI employees are not met by Monday.

The Union said the ''uncompromising attitude'' of the SBI management and the government in not ''meeting the just demands of the striking employees was an issue of serious concern''.

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