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SBI strike: Rs 1 lakh cr heldup, unions to meet CMD

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, Apr 8: Cheque transactions worth over Rs one lakh crore including the salaries of government employees and private organisations have been heldup as the State Bank of India (SBI) strike entered its sixth day, even as representatives of striking unions are slated to meet SBI CMD later today.

There has already been a loss of over Rs 100 crore in exports, All Indian Association of Industries (AIAI) President Vijay Kalantri said.

''The strike has paralysed financial services as well as trade and industry transactions and this needs to be resolved at the earliest to redress customer woes,'' a release quoting Mr Kalantri here said.

AIAI feels that prolonged strike would affect business, especially small scale industries and exports, the release added.

Meanwhile, All India State Bank of India Staff Federation secretary P K Patnaik told mediapersons that his union, along with the All India State Bank Officers' Federation, was willing to call off the six-day strike, provided the Government agrees to their ''scaled-down demands'' as an interim measure.

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

''We still stick to our original demand for revising our pension ceiling, but in the interests of our customers and the national economy, we are agreeable to an interim agreement,'' Mr Patnaik said.

The unions had earlier demanded that the pension ceiling should be upped to 50 per cent of the last salary drawn, right from the position of messenger to the deputy managing director, but now they are ready to negotiate on the basis of pay-scales of respective designations.

Claiming that the strike was ''tremendously successful'' so far, Mr Patnaik said the unions have sought a personal audience with Union Finance Miinster P Chidambaram and a fax to this effect has been sent to him this morning.

Blaming the Government for not taking any step to resolve the strike, he claimed that the SBI's pension corpus of Rs 9,000 crore was sufficient to cater to the revised scales. ''The interest earned out of this corpus is enough to meet our revised demands,'' he averred.

Meanwhile, representatives of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), who were also present at the press conference, affirmed their support to the striking SBI unions. UFBU has called a meeting of its members in Chennai on April 11 to discuss measures of extending its support to the striking SBI employees.

The union had earlier decided to hold a protest march to Parliament on April 10 to extend support to the strike, besides threatening to go on strike if the legitimate demands of the SBI employees were not met by Monday.

UNI

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