M.K. Ravikrishnan, Chairman of Kerala Gramin Bank
Thousands of employees in the 56 regional rural banks (gramin banks) across the country will strike work for three days beginning from March 26.
The business transactions of the 623 branches of the Kerala Gramin Bank, a majority of whose 3,600 staff are expected to go on strike, will be hit on these days. The KGB, the only one based in Kerala, is one of the largest RRBs in the country.
The strike, called by the United Forum of Regional Rural Bank Unions, is mainly to protest against the Centre’s move to privatise the rural banks by offloading the shares of the government to the tune of 49% of its stake.
The strike is also to press for pension for the gramin bank staff on a par with other bank employees and to nominate Indian Banks Association (IBA) as the party to hold negotiations with the RRB unions on wages and other service conditions.
Rajeevan C., president of the All-India Regional Rural Bank Employees Association, pointed out that the Centre was planning to dilute the public sector stake in the gramin banks substantially.
He noted that the Centre held 50% stake in each gramin bank, the respective sponsor banks had 35% and the respective State governments 15%.
He alleged that the dilution of the stake was due to the pursuance of the neo-liberal economic policies of the Centre and pressure from the finance capital lobby.
(Source : The Hindu)