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Bank employees in Rajasthan to strike work Monday

Mumbai, June 18 (IANS) Banking operations in Rajasthan are set to be paralysed Monday with all bank employees threatening to boycott work in support of the three-day strike by Bank of Rajasthan staffers, a bank employees union official said Friday.

The Bank of Rajasthan’s (BoR) 4,300 employees in all 468 branches in the country shall launch a three-day agitation starting Monday, in protest against its proposed take-over by the ICICI Bank, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) secretary Vishwas Utagi said.

All other bank unions and staff have decided to go on a day’s strike to express solidarity with them, he added.

The stir follows a two-day agitation by the BoR employees June 4 and 5, Utagi added.

According to Utagi, the BoR is a very old private sector bank with an all-India banking network, and owning prime properties worth billions of rupees across Rajasthan.

‘In recent times, the Tayal business group had taken control over the bank’s board and misused the public funds in the bank,’ Utagi alleged, adding that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) then imposed fines of Rs.2.5 million on the bank for violating its guidelines in financial matters.

Despite this, the BoR’s board of directors, last May 18, approved its merger with the ICICI Bank, he said, terming the decision ‘shocking’.

Utagi said the bank unions have been opposing, and would continue to challenge, the merger at all forums, while some shareholders were in the process of moving the courts.

‘There are certainly questions of corporate governance: how are the RBI and the SEBI (Security and Exchange Board of India) permitting such fraudulent mergers. The entire deal must be thoroughly investigated, especially since all the major players in this deal appear to have vested interests,’ he alleged.

Utagi demanded that the RBI should review the merger decision, put the bank under moratorium and subsequently merge it with any other public sector bank in the interest of the bank employees and the depositors.

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