Unions up in arms against bank merger move

NEW DELHI/KOCHI: The bank employees’ unions are up in arms against the bank merger move announced by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday.

The All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), the apex body of the bank officers’ trade union movement in the country with membership of around 3.2 lakh officers, expressed its strong opposition to the ‘wholesale’ merger of Public Sector Banks announced by the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, yesterday.

The United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has decided to observe Saturday (August 31) as Protest Day to vent the bank employees’ angst against the government move to merge 10 banks to create four large banks.

The Forum convenor, CD Josson said UFBU will be organising demonstrations on Saturday to protest against the government move. CFBU has also called upon all the bank employees to come out to show their protest against the new move that will only help weaken the public sector banks.

“The huge bad loan portfolio is the biggest threat to the banks today and merger is not the solution to recover the bad loans from the large corporate groups. The government should instead think of fast track processes to recover the NPAs accumulated with big business groups in the country,” he said.

AIBOC said these mergers would undermine the autonomy of the bank boards and make a mockery of the provisions of the Banking Companies Acquisition and Transfer of Undertaking Act. The PSU bank boards have on them no representatives from either Officers or Workmen despite explicit legal provision and direction from the Delhi High Court to this end.

The AIBOC general secretary, Soumya Datta questioned the justification given by the Finance Minister to defend the merger. Stating that the move is a misplaced one, he reminded that SBI continues to face financial stress in the post-merger scenario. “The BoB-Dena Bank-Vijaya Bank merger has not yielded any significant improvements either. The decision on merger will only act as a major impediment to the dream of the government to make the country a $5 trillion economy,” Datta added.



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