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SBT's move to ban trade union activities in premises attacked

SBTs move to ban trade union activities in premises attacked

Thiruvananthapuram: Trade union leaders on Friday expressed their strong displeasure over a new circular issued by the State Bank of Travancore (SBT) here putting a break on trade union activities inside the premises of its branches and business units.

The new directive came on Wednesday through a circular issued by the HR department of SBT as preliminary steps taken by the management ahead of the move by the State Bank of India board that has in principle with the approval of the central government to acquire its five associate banks, which includes-Kerala's own bank SBT.

The new circular says that the banks halls should not be used for union activities and also prevents putting up of any notices, flex boards or such materials in the bank premises including its branches and its business units.

"Who does not know that this is part of tightening the rules to go ahead with the acquisition. These curbs are not acceptable so is the proposed acquisition. In no way will this deter our ongoing struggle as we have over the years been subjected to numerous such measures adopted by managements and have fought all that successfully," said senior CPI-M leader Elamaram Kareem, a former state Industry Minister and secretary of the CITU's Kerala unit.

SBT's main union - the SBT Employees Union, ever since the merger move surfaced, have been opposing it tooth and nail as the 70-year-old bank has been doing yeomen service to the people of Kerala, and if the merger goes ahead, the new entity will become a global player in banking and the customers of SBT will suffer.

Close to 15,000 employees belong to this union.

Congress-affiliated INTUC's president R.Chandrasekheran said when it comes to employees rights, there are no Left or Right trade unions and instead just the trade unions, which are united in their stand against this move.

"The basic tenants of functioning of a TU are being questioned through this circular and we will deal with it appropriately and we are not going to be cowed down by all these," Chandrasekheran told the media.

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