Protesting the United Progressive Alliance Government’s reforms including privatisation in the banking sector and closure/mergers of associate banks, the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) and the All India Bank Officers’ Association (AIBOA) will go on a nationwide strike on December 16.
Announcing this at a press conference here on Saturday, AIBEA national general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam said a march to the Parliament on December 3 by around a lakh bank employees and officers would precede the strike, “to focus attention of the people and the government on the need to stop banking sector reforms like privatisation of public sector banks, closure and merger of associate banks with the State Bank of India and amendment of the Banking Regulations Act to allow full voting rights to foreign investors in the sector.
The march and strike would also demand strengthening of public sector banks, take over of all private banks, stringent action to recover all bad loans and introduction of pro-people banking policies. The UPA
government’s reported move to take a loan of Rs.10,000 crore from the World Bank towards capital for public sector banks would also be opposed since this would mean that the World Bank would impose unnecessary and unjustified conditions on the Indian banking sector, Mr. Venkatachalam said.
Pointing out that consolidation of public sector banks through the closure and merger of associate banks like the State Bank of Travancore with the SBI would lead to a monopoly and in turn, loss of access to banking services for the common man, Mr. Venkatachalam said the UPA government’s banking policy should be people-oriented, and not profit-oriented.
The strike would also demand revitalisation of cooperative banks in order to make rural economies more vibrant, he said, adding that the agitation would be intensified if the government did not heed to the demands and protests of the associations.
Mr. Venkatachalam was in town for the two-day State conference of the AIBEA being organised at Alappuzha.