32,000 workers of IDBI Bank, including officers, went on strike on 28 March 2016, under a call given by AIBEA (All India Bank Employees Association, AIBOA (All India Bank Officers Association) and other unions representing the IDBI Bank employees. The strike was in protest against the move to privatise IDBI Bank, announced by the Finance Minister while presenting the Union Budget for 2016-2017.
The IDBI was formed in 1964 under an Act of Parliament as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve bank of India. Its function was to finance, promote and develop Industry in India. In 2004 the RBI incorporated the IDBI as a scheduled bank and its function was transformed from a development institution to a purely commercial institution just like any other public sector bank. However, unlike the other public sector banks which were established under an Act of Parliament, IDBI Bank was established under the Companies Act in 2004 and hence it acquired the status of a limited company IDBI Bank Ltd.
When IDBI was converted into a public sector bank, the then Finance Minister had announced in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in December 2003 that the Government would at all times retain its share holding at not less than 51%. Accordingly, it is provided in Clause 4 of the Articles of Association of IDBI Ltd. ( now renamed IDBI Bank Ltd.) that “the Central Government being a shareholder of the Company, shall at all times maintain not less than fifty one percent of the issued capital of the company”.
However, from September 2015, there have been repeated reports about the Central Government contemplating dilution of its shareholding in IDBI Ltd to less than 50%. Alarmed by this flagrant violation of the Government’s own stated assurances, the workers of IDBI resorted to a number of protest actions including gate meetings and demonstrations culminating in a country wide strike action on 27 Nov 2015. When this issue was raised in the Parliament, the Finance Minister informed the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha in Dec 2015 that Public Sector Banks including IDBI have been allowed to raise capital from public by diluting the Government of India holding up to 52%.
The latest announcement by the Finance Minister is in flagrant violation of his own assurance to the Parliament in Dec 2015 as well as that given by the then Finance Minister to Parliament in Dec 2003. It is against this that the workers of IDBI went on strike on March 28th 2016. Though conciliation was attempted by the Regional Labour Commissioner, Mumbai (under the Ministry of Labour, Central Government) between the IDBI management and workers, the talks were declared as failed on 22 Mar 2016.
Unlike other Public Sector Banks,since the IDBI is established under the Companies Act, its privatisation need not be approved by Parliament. It is against these diabolical moves of the Central Government that the workers of IDBI, supported by the bank workers of all the Public Sector Banks all over the country, resorted to a strike action on 28 March 2016.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar fully supports the just demands of the agitating IDBI workers and condemns the Government’s attempt to hand over public assets at throw away price to the Indian and foreign monopoly capitalists.