Report by Kamgar Ekta Committee (KEC) correspondent
On 1st July an important mass meeting was organised by the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) in Mumbai. Employees from different banks in Mumbai attended this meeting and there were employees from the Catholic Syrian bank and IDBI Bank, which the Government is trying to sell off.
The meeting was to inform the employees about the various demands the workers have put forward to the management, represented by the Indian Banks Association (IBA). The union has raised issues regarding pension, implementation of the 11th bipartite agreement in the Catholic Syrian Bank and recruitment issues. The meeting also discussed the way ahead to fight against privatisation.
Comrade C. H. Venkatachalam General Secretary, AIBEA addressed the gathering. Below are the key points of his speech:
- Recruitment is a big issue. The number of people recruited every year is going down. This year the total number of workers recruited in all the government sector banks was just 6,000. At one time this number would be around 60,000. He said a separate strike may be necessary as regards recruitment, because without a sufficient number of employees the work load increases and customer service gets badly affected.
- As regards the Bank Amendment Bill, the government may pass it in monsoon session, and the United Forum of Bank Employees has decided to go on indefinite strike and do a massive agitation, including a dharna in Delhi.
- The Governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and of the Congress ruled states have opposed the privatisation of banks and the Bank Amendment bill and promised support.
- They have to oppose and together with other working class members oppose the new labour laws. The new labour laws will make it difficult to go on strike. The government proposes to do a ballot asking each employee whether he or she is agreed for going on strike; this way they want to delay the strike action.
- The AIBEA is opposing the Modi Government and in the past, it has opposed all the other governments like Nehru government and Vajpayee government. AIBEA is for the rights of the bank workers and it is because of their fight that they have not allowed the banks to get privatised till now.
- Banks perform a social duty, by providing money to people in need and the public sector banks have been protecting people’s deposits. Private banks go bankrupt and people’s deposits are lost.
- Mumbai is the economic nerve center and the employees here have a duty to struggle, since their struggle gets noticed and impacts the economy. In the past many famous leaders have come from this city.
Comrade Tuljapurkar, General Secretary, Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation, addressed the meeting and said that employees have to work double to save the banks in this difficult situation. They released booklet regarding how harmful it is to privatise the banks.
The meeting was presided over by Comrade Nandkumar Chavan, President, Maharashtra State Bank Employees Federation and he said that Maharashtra Bank employees will keep up the tradition of fighting and will strengthen the organisation. They will explain the objective of their fight to the young employees. Their fight is not only for their rights but for the rights of all. Only public sector banks protect the deposits of customers and give loans to the under-privileged.