Many people join PSBs with job security in mind and fear this will change
Bank employees and unions, anxious over the proposed privatisation of two public sector banks (PSBs), have “vowed” to undertake indefinite strikes in case of “adverse announcements” such as loss of jobs or pension, Mint reported.
Devidas Tuljapurkar, convener of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), an umbrella body of nine bank unions told the paper many are worried that even without directly handing over pink slips, bank employees may be pressurised to into large voluntary retirement schemes (VRS).
He further said that outsourcing of several jobs has already led to retrenchment in clerical roles and privatisation poses “a greater risk” to those in clerical positions.
CH Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees' Association said they are awaiting clarity from the government, but was categorical: “… in case the scheme is detrimental to employees, we will go on indefinite strike unless such measures are rolled back.”
Notably, many people join PSBs with job security in mind and fear of this changing has grown after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Union Budget 2021 speech on February 1 said two more PSBs, besides IDBI Bank, will also be privatised to meet the Centre’s divestment target.
One bank employee told the paper they are “not sure about what is happening”, adding that many are “frustrated” from lack of clarity and losing several co-workers to the coronavirus pandemic. “I have a colleague who left a cushy job to come work at the bank and is now worried about losing his job,” he said.
Others also noted that privatisation would be “unfair” to those who joined these banks for benefits of a public sector jobs, adding that change in structure would be “difficult for many to adjust to”.
Sitharaman has since sought to allay these fears and had in March assured bank employees that their interests would not be hurt.
Notably, the government has not yet named which banks it plans to privatise, but multiple media reports hinted at the likely options – Indian Overseas Bank, Central Bank of India and Bank of Maharashtra.