Employees of the State Bank of India (SBI), under the banner of State Banks’ Staff Union (Kerala Circle), on Monday resorted to agitation in protest against the alleged ‘ùnilateral’ actions of the SBI management and to press their demands.

The employees took out protest marches at all regional offices, administrative offices, and local offices of the SBI here.

In a statement here, the union alleged that the bank’s Human Resource cell at the Circle-level was functioning on the basis of unilateral decisions and bias of senior officials and that it had affected the bilateral relations in the organisation.

It demanded that the recruitment process in SBI should be speeded up in view of staff shortage caused by the ban on recruitment.

The Union said that in 2000, when the Bank’s Circle came into existence, there were 233 branches and 2,916 clerical employees. The business then was Rs. 5,542 crore. Now, the number of branches had risen to 500, and in addition, two administrative offices and five regional offices, had been opened. The quantum of business conducted by the SBI had gone up10-fold to cross Rs.50,000 crore. In the last financial year, the Kerala Circle of SBI had registered a profit of Rs. 506 crore.

However, work at all the SBI branches had been hit owing to shortage of staff. With the Union government handing out various subsidies through banks, the volume of work as well as the number of customers who needed to be serviced on a regular basis had gone up considerably, the union said in a statement here.

The union said in most branches, employees had to work overtime to finish the workload and in many new branches, there were only one or two clerical staff. It said by 2014 March, the SBI should recruit at least 1,500 new employees to manage its volume of work.

It said the SBI had not undertaken recruitment for the past 16 years, citing various reasons.

Protest marches were taken out to the Thiruvananthapuram local head office of the SBI.