IDBI Bank’s worker profile a factor in divestment, says union

Chennai : The government is seeking to reduce its stake in IDBI Bank to less than 50 percent as a test case owing to the institution’s peculiar employee profile, said a leader of the trade union that is calling for a four-day strike in the bank.

“The reason for central government to take up IDBI Bank first to dilute its holding to less than 50 percent could be two. Firstly, the bank has more number of officers than clerks unlike in other nationalised banks,” Amara Venkata Vithal Koteswara Rao, general secretary, All India IDBI Officers’ Association (AIIDBIOA), told IANS on Sunday.

“The other reason is that the bank falls under the IDBI Repeal Act — or Industrial Development Bank (Transfer of Undertaking and Repeal) Act, 2003 — and not the law under which the private banks were nationalised in 1969,” he added.

Rao is the convenor for United Platform of IDBI Bank Unions (UPIDU) that has called for a four-day strike from March 28 to 31 in IDBI Bank.

The UPIDU consists of AIIDBIOA and IDBI Employees Association-Eastern Zone.

The four-day strike should mean that the IDBI Bank would be shut for nine days from March 24 to April 1. March 24 was Holi, March 25 was Good Friday, March 26 being fourth Saturday was a closed day, and April 1 being the beginning of the new financial year is a closed day too.

Rao, however, said it would not be an unbroken nine-day off because the bank was open on March 26.

“There is no closure of bank for nine consecutive days. We had worked on March 26, which was the fourth Saturday of this month. Normally second and fourth Saturdays are bank holidays.”

Though the IDBI Bank has far more number of officers as compared to clerical and other cadres, they cannot remain silent when the survival of the bank and its employees are threatened, Rao said.

“Many people have joined IDBI Bank recently, leaving their jobs in other nationalised banks,” Rao said.

Earlier, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) clarified that it has called for only a day’s strike in IDBI Bank – i.e. on Monday.

Employees of only IDBI Bank would strike work to protest the government’s proposal to reduce its equity in the bank to less than 50 per cent, AIBEA said.

Rao acknowledged that AIBEA — as well as All India Bank Officers Association (AIBOA) — has called for only a day’s strike on Monday while United Platform of IDBI Bank Unions has called for a four-day strike.

“There is no conflict with AIBEA and AIBOA, nor is there any split in the IDBI Bank officers association,” Rao said.

“We will change our agitation programme if there is positive news from the government side,” Rao added.

According to him, the union is reaching out to all its members to make the strike a total success.