Bank staff fear job loss from privatisation, prepare to strike

Unlike mergers, where there are no direct job losses, talk of privatisation has caused a lot of insecurity and fear of loss of jobs and pensions

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With news of the Central Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank and Bank of Maharasthra reportedly being considered for privatisation, bank staff across the country are anxious about their jobs being threatened. They fear losing out on their pensions if the privatisation proposal is implemented. The unions are planning to call a strike if the move is passed.

The proposed privatisation has instilled fear in all those who took up jobs in government-run banks in the hope of securing their futures and enjoying job security.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier this year announced that the Central government would reduce its stake in two public-sector banks, other than from IDBI Bank. Following this, she had given an assurance in March that no banks would be closed down and all steps will be taken to safeguard the interests of the staff, in terms of salaries, scales, pensions and so on.

Employees fear that instead of direct layoffs, they will be forced to accept voluntary retirement schemes now. They are all waiting with bated breath for what is to come, all prepared to strike if the decision(s) go against their interests in any way.

Mergers, as such were not as unwelcome because they did not result in joblessness. However, with privatisation, the story could be altogether different.

Coming close on the heels of so many deaths in the banking sector, due to the pandemic, this sudden sense of insecurity from the news of privatisation is affecting the morale of bank staff across the country.

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