Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Members of the All India Bank Employees Association have threatened to go on nation-wide strikes to express their unhappiness with the move to privatise banks, allowing foreign direct investment in the banking sector and outsourcing of services.

The exact dates of the strike will be decided at the AIBEA national general council meeting to be held in Chennai on June 13 and 14. Speaking to press persons on Friday, C.H. Venkatachalam, secretary of the association, condemned the attempts to continuously `attack the financial and banking sector.'

The AIBEA was against the government's intention to privatise public sector banks and the disinvestment of shares upto 49 per cent. In the past decade, a number of private sector banks had folded and hence, in the best interests of the investor, banks should continue to remain in the public sector, he said.

Merging public sector banks into five or six big banks in order to enable them become global institutions dealing with international trade and business was a `retrograde' idea, he charged. The total assets of all the 27 public sector banks in the country (less than U.S. $300 billion) were well below the assets of any top global bank, he added.