Four bank unions have threatened to go on a two-day strike from September 26 to protest against the government decision to reduce 10 state-run banks to four through mergers.
These four unions have also sought fulfilment of a charter of nine demands, including wage revision.
Due to strikes and holidays, the several banks across the country will remain closed from September 26 to September 29, which can affect customers' regular banking services. September 28 will be the last Saturday of the month and September 29 is a Sunday, and hence banks will be closed on those two days.
The four banking unions - All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA), Indian National Bank Officers' Congress (INBOC), National Organisation of Bank Officers (NOBO) - have called for a strike following the recent government announcement on consolidation of 10 public sector banks into four.
In a letter to the Chairman, Indian Banks' Association, signed by the General Secretaries of the four organisations, on Thursday, the unions said: "In accordance with the provisions contained in sub-section (1) of Section 22 of the Industrial Dispute Act 1947, we hereby give you notice that 4 Officers' Trade Union Organizations as stated above, propose to go on continuous strike from midnight of 25th September to midnight of 27th September 2019 and indefinite strike from the second week of November 2019."
The organisations have said that they are doing so to oppose the "merger and amalgamations in the banking sector."
They have also listed out nine demands -- expeditious wage revision as per Charter of Demands, with an unconditional and clear mandate from all banks; immediate introduction of a 5 day week in full; reduction of cash transaction hours and regulated working hours; halting of undue interference in the existing procedure of vigilance cases by outside agencies; under provisions of amended Section 17(A) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 2018; settlement of issues pertaining to retirees-updation of pension as per RBI formula/revision of family pension without any ceiling, quantum and percentage; and medical insurance at par with serving employees.
The other demands listed by the unions include -- adequate recruitment, scrapping NPS and reintroduction of Defined Pension Payment Scheme, reduction of service charges for customers and stopping of harassment of Officers under specious plea of non-performance.
"We strongly oppose and protest the government's move of merger/consolidation of public sector banks. Just adding two balance sheets will not make a resultant balance sheet stronger," they said in their strike notice.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on August 30 announced that the Punjab National Bank, the Oriental Bank and the United Bank will be merged to become the second largest PSU Bank in India. The Canara Bank and the Syndicate Bank will be merged to become the 4th largest PSB, while the Union Bank, the Andhra Bank and the Corporation Bank will be amalgamated into a single entity to be the 5th largest PSB, and the Indian Bank and the Allahabad Bank will become one entity to be the 7th largest PSB.
The Finance Minister further said that the Bank of India and Central Bank of India would remain independent. After the amalgamation, only 12 PSBs will be left in India from the 27 earlier.