Employee unions hold dharna against reforms, consolidation in PSBs

New Delhi, Dec 10 () Employee unions of public sector banks on Tuesday held day-long dharna here opposing bank mergers and abnormal hike in service charges.

All nine bank unions under the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), including the All India Bank Officers Confederation (AIBOC), the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) and the National Organisation of Bank Workers participated in the all-India dharna.

At a time when the country's economy is facing a severe slowdown and banks have an important role to play to boost the economy, which should be the priority of the government, AIBOC said in a statement.

Unfortunately, the government is targeting the banks for wholesale mergers, large-scale closure of branches, diversion of attention from bad loans recovery, reduction in interest on deposits, levying more service charges and penal charges on ordinary banking public, among others, it said. Advertisement

"Mergers are totally unwarranted and it is not the solution for the problems of our economy or the challenges facing the banks," it said.

In August, the government announced its plan to merge 10 public sector banks (PSBs) into four to create fewer and stronger global-sized banks.

It had announced four new sets PSB mergers -- Punjab National Bank taking over Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India; Syndicate Bank merging with Canara Bank; Union Bank of India will amalgamate with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank; and Indian Bank will merge with Allahabad Bank.

The attention of the banks will be shifted from recovery of bad loans and serving the common people to merger-related complications.

Earlier on October 22, bank employees affiliated to AIBEA went on a one-day nationwide strike to protest against the merger of state-owned banks. DP HRS

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