The merger of public sector banks signals the initial step towards privatization and potentially leads to its acquisition by foreign entities, according to N Shankar, the general secretary of the All India Union Bank Employees Association.

Criticizing the lack of clarity in Parliament regarding the rationale behind these mergers, he said the amalgamation of public sector banks is driven by clear political agendas.  

While labour unions are actively protesting against further mergers, the central government appears inclined to pursue its policies of merger, especially in the lead-up to the Lok Sabha elections, he said.

Shankar was speaking at the inauguration of the 37th state conference of the Union Bank of India Employees Union in Kochi.

The state conference gains significance as it is the first to be held post the merger of Union, Andhra, and Corporation Banks.

C Ananthakrishnan, President of the Union Bank Employees Union (Kerala), presided over the conference. 

The conference’s delegate session highlighted the staffing challenges faced by bank branches across the country and criticized management’s reluctance to appoint sub-staff/part-time sweepers, despite government directives. B Ramprakash, general secretary, All Kerala Bank Employees Federation, inaugurated the session.

Additionally, the escalating issue of non-performing assets, reaching ₹4.28 lakh crore, drew condemnation, with the delegate session accusing the central government of inaction.

Amidst these challenges, the conference celebrated Union Bank of India’s achievement in surpassing its business target of ₹19 trillion and called for collective employee cooperation to achieve the ambitious goal of ₹21.5 trillion business by the end of the first quarter in March 2024.