Employees of public-sector banks (PSBs) held a day-long protest against the merger of banks and the hike in service charges. A nation-wide dharna against the mergers was held earlier this year, by bank employees on 22 October too.
The All India Bank Officers’ Confederation (AIBOC), in a statement to the media, expressed discontentment at the fact that at a time when the focus of the Government should be towards pulling the economy up from the prevailing slump and including the banks in the process, it is doing the opposite. The Government has chosen to shift its attention towards the mergers and closure of branches, the resultant employee distress, and abnormal service and penal charges on the ordinary customer. The Confederation emphasised that these mergers are totally unwarranted, especially since they are neither a solution for the economy nor for the issues faced by the banks.
While the Government and the banks should be concentrating on recovery of bad loans, they are now preoccupied with merger-related problems.
Earlier, in August this year, the Government had announced plans to merge 10 PSBs into four. The logic behind the move was that it would result in fewer but stronger entities at the global level.
The proposed merger specified four sets of new PSBs— Punjab National Bank (PNB) taking over oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and United Bank of India (UBI), Union Bank of India merging with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank, Indian Bank merging with Allahabad Bank and Syndicate Bank merging with Canara Bank.