Bank employees owing allegiance to four Left-leaning unions today went on a strike protesting the proposed merger of the State Bank of Indore with parent State Bank of India (SBI), disrupting normal banking operations in the country, a top union official said.

AIBEA General Secretary C. H. Venkatachalam told PTI that employees under the banner of All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) are on a one-day strike.

Mr. Venkatachalam said there should be no consolidation in the public sector banks in the name of creating global size banks.

Many public and private sector banks have already informed customers that the normal functioning at bank’s branches may get affected in view of the strike call.

Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) banks control about 70 per cent of the banking operations in the country.

IANS reports:

Around 450,000 bank employees of both public sector and private sector banks across the country went on a strike on Wednesday, bringing banking services to a standstill.

“We are striking keeping the merger issue of the State Bank of Indore with the State Bank of India in the front. But in general it is our policy to oppose merger and consolidation of public sector banks,” Rajen Nagar, national president of one of the unions — All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) told IANS.

AIBEA and All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) had said that their members propose to go on strike on Dec. 16 against the merger and consolidation.

Twenty seven state-run banks and around a similar number of private sector banks are keeping their shutters down, he said.

Nagar added: “These mergers are not in national interest. It does not only amount to job loss, it also hampers banking services for small customers like SMEs (small and medium enterprises).”

“We want extension of public sector banks, not mergers,” he said.

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