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(Registered under the Trade Unions Act 1926, Registration No.

6th Floor, E-Block, SamriddhiBhavan, 1, Strand Road, Kolkata -700 001
C/O State Bank of India Officers’ Association (Bengal Circle)
Phone: 2210-1234, Fax: (033) 2210-2210

Date: 26.12.2018

Press Release

Nationwide Bank Strike on 26th December 2018 by

United Forum of Bank Unions a Massive Success
The strike call given by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) consisting of 9 unions of Officers and
Workmen in the Indian Banking Industry evoked tremendous response across the country as Banking
operations came to a grinding halt. The strike was in protest against the Government’s move to merge
Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank and also against diverting the attention from NPA menace in
the Banks. AIBOC, being the largest association of the supervisory cadre commanding a membership of
3.20 lakh officers emphatically states that this move by the Government is illogical and detrimental to the
interests of these banks, their customers and against the interest of the common man. As one of the major
constituents of UFBU, AIBOC is in the forefront since announcement of merger to drive home to all stake
holders that Mergers & Acquisitions are not the solution and has colossal ill effects.

AIBOC is of the firm opinion that, instead attempting mis-adventure like mergers/amalgamations,
Government should focus its attention to identify the reasons for today’s NPA menace in the Banks. Lack of
required urgency is evident as Government has not shown any inclination either to publish the names of
Wilful Corporate Defaulters or to make Wilful Default a crime. IBC has turned out to be a licence for the
Banks to take haircuts (write-off).

All the alibis raised in justification of the mergers like ‘economies of scale’, ‘better efficiency’ etc. are
superfluous, baseless arguments and can only be termed as mere jugglery of words. If these were true, it
should have come good in the case of State Bank of India which merged its Associate Banks with its own
entity. After the elapse of 21 months of acquisition, nothing positive has emerged and now all are
convinced that it is nothing short of a ‘financial disaster’. The enlarged SBI continuously posted humongous
losses and its book of ‘bad debts’ swelled and had closed thousands of branches, in the guise of branch
rationalisation directly affecting the customers.

There is no evidence that bigger banks are stronger and more efficient. World has witnessed the collapse
of entities like Lehman Brothers. Mergers do not result in improved quality of assets or the financial as
there is no fresh infusion of capital. Insofar as addressing the question of NPAs are concerned, any real,
absolute progress can be expected only when concrete measures are taken up by the Government like
catching hold of large wilful and skilful corporate defaulters and publishing list of wilful defaulters and initiate
suitable measures to recover the monies. Even 20% recovery of NPAs would imply that no Banks would
require any capital infusion.

AIBOC feels that the Government has violated the extant laws of the country as laid down under Banking
Companies Acquisition & Transfer of Undertakings Act 1970/80. We are constrained to believe that
participative management has been given a go-by to enable fast tracking of merger and to obviate dissent
in Boards. In contravention of the law governing the Banks, Workmen/Officer Directors have not been
appointed on the Board of the Banks despite intervention of the Judiciary.

AIBOC is aggrieved that voices, feedback and response from the Public Sector Banking space were not
called for before arriving at such a crucial decision. This indicates that the Government is in a tearing hurry,
disregarding all the normal practice. AIBOC has filed a writ in the Delhi High Court challenging the decision
to bypass the Parliamentary role in the aspect of mergers. AIBOC has a locus standi in as much as the
decision impacts the Public Sector Banks, citizenry and lives and livelihoods of Bank officers thereby
violating Section 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India.
Looking at the chronology of events, it is hard to miss a conspicuous haste and urgency shown by
Government in the matter. It is also clear that a consultative process with the stake-holders to arrive at a
consensus is not the preferred ways for the Government to take such crucial decisions. It is high time that
the Government has to learn from the past. Our Nation, in keeping with its geography and population, need
more and more banks, especially from Public Sector, to reach out to the common man.

It is also clear that the Government is not ready for a dialogue or a consultative process with all the
stakeholders in the case of Mergers and is unilaterally proceeding ahead with this ill-conceived plan. UFBU
is left with no option, but to organise public opinion with regard to the adverse impact that this
Amalgamation/Merger exercise can cause to the common man and resolve to fight for the sake of the
Banking Industry and the common man.

We are sure that our struggle is “just and right” and is for the common man. We are getting the support of
the common man. The response from ground zero is that mergers is not panacea and is opposed by all.
More than 10 Lakh officers and employees of Banking Industry have embarked upon the battle to safe
guard the interest of the common man of this country and to ensure that his Banking needs are protected
and not hurt by the misplaced reforms of the Government.

We also take this opportunity to drive home the point that the Government should wake up to realise that
AIBOC is an opinion maker as we are connected to the common man. Our legitimate demands in respect
of the overdue Salary Revision have to be completed by Government, based on the Charter of Demands,
and we will not allow the Government to divide the officers’ fraternity on grades and scales. Simultaneously,
the issues pertaining to the retirees in respect of updation of pension, revision of family pension have to be
addressed. After the massive response in the nationwide strike on 21st Dec’18 and today i.e. 26th Dec’18,
we are ready to forge ahead with further agitational programs till we achieve our demands.

(Soumya Datta)
General Secretary