Members of the All India Bank Employees’ Association and All India Bank Officers’ Association went on a one day nation wide strike on 16th Dec 2009 against the proposal to merge State Bank of Indore with State Bank of India and against the banking sector reforms like privatization of public sector banks. Banking operations were affected, but more than this, what is important to note is that:
It is not the business of the members of the associations to decide whether there should be merger of banks or not and whether there should be privatization or not. It is the business of the managements of the banks and the Government. The associations can demand that in the event of mergers/privatization, the terms and conditions of their service should be altered to their disadvantage-there should be no retrenchment, no reduction in salaries, promotion chances should not be reduced, retirement benefits should not be cut, etc. Of course if they have strong views against the proposals, they are free to give memorandum to concerned authorities, but they should not resort to strike. It is for political parties, NGOs etc. to protest against the policies.
The Labour Department arranged talks between the associations and the managements of banks. This was also perhaps unnecessary. Conciliatory talks could have been arranged on issues like bonus, promotion chances, increase in salaries, quantum of leave etc but not on policy issues like mergers, privatization etc.