Operations at all branches continue to be affected; no cheque clearance

Our Bureaus

New Delhi/Mumbai, April 4

The indefinite strike by the State Bank of India employees, , which entered the second day on Tuesday, is heading for a stalemate with the Government appearing to be in no mood to relent to the pressures of the bank's employees.

Senior Finance Ministry officials indicated that the Government was not in favour of acceding to the demands as it could result in similar demands being placed by other state-owned banks.

The major demand of the striking SBI employees has been a comprehensive review of the pension ceiling in order to provide for 50 per cent of the last drawn pay as pension.

High-level Finance Ministry officials held deliberations to bring an early end to the agitation. Consultations were also held with the top brass of the SBI. However, details of the decisions are not available.

Meanwhile, the SBI officers' union has indicated that it was willing to enter into negotiations with the Government. "We are willing to talk and negotiate on the issue if the Government calls us," the All-India SBI Officers Federation Vice-President, Mr T.N. Goel, told

Business Line

.

ATM usage

Operations at all SBI branches were paralysed for the second day today. Cheque clearing was affected as all SBI-run clearing centres could not operate.

Meanwhile, to help customers, the SBI management said they could avail themselves free of charge of the ATM facility of SBI's associate banks and other banks with whom SBI has a bilateral arrangement.

The banks are HDFC Bank, UTI Bank, IndusInd Bank, Corporation Bank, Indian Bank, Andhra Bank, Dena Bank, UCO Bank and Punjab National Bank. SBI has an ATM network of 5,000. The usual charges otherwise levied under the bilateral arrangement with these nine banks would be waived or refunded for the transactions made during the strike, said the press release issued by SBI.

Mr Abhijeet Datta, Corporate Development Officer, SBI said, "There will be a loss to the bank as banking operations have been hit, but we have not calculated the amount of loss."

Related Stories:
SBI strike hits banking operations nation-wide
SBI staff hold sit-in demonstration

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 5, 2006)
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