The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Threat of SBI strike spill

New Delhi, April 7: The indefinite strike of State Bank of India employees entered the fifth day today with unions of other banks also threatening to go on strike if the matter was not resolved.

The United Forum of Banks’ Unions, a confederation of nine bank unions, expressed solidarity with the striking SBI workers.

The united forum said in a statement that it would stage a march to Parliament on Monday.

“The situation stands as it was on April 5 (when the conciliatory meeting between employees and the government failed),” said V.K. Gupta, vice-president of the All India SBI Staff Federation.

He said the union has not given anything in writing to the management but has offered to restrict its demand to 50 per cent of last-drawn salary as pension up to the level of general manager.

The unions have argued that a ceiling of 50 per cent on last-drawn salary would effectively mean that the highest pension would work out to Rs 16,000 per month, against the existing Rs 4,250.

It is learnt that the bank management, however, is willing to offer pension with a ceiling of Rs 9,500, which the union said is lower than 50 per cent of the basic salary of a senior clerk.

A conciliatory meeting convened by chief labour commissioner S.K. Mukhopadhyay on Wednesday had failed to arrive at a solution as the Union finance ministry’s representative did not turn up for the second round of talks that evening.

Union leaders said the government should come out with a counter offer on the proposal submitted by the employees.

The government is unwilling to accept the demand fearing that it might lead to similar demands by staff of other banks.

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