HC stays service clauses of SBI’s Feb 22 acquisition order

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HC stays service clauses of SBI’s Feb 22 acquisition order

Chennai, Apr 12 (PTI) The Madras High Court has ordered status quo on service conditions linked to terminal benefits, pension and seniority of the migrant employees of the five banks which was merged with the State Bank of India recently.

Justice T Raja ordered the status quo on the service conditions of the migrant bank employees on a plea by 17 staffers of the erstwhile State Bank of Mysore who alleged that some of the service conditions-related provisions of the banks’ merger order were arbitrary and discriminatory.

While ordering the State Bank of India and the Union Finance Ministry to maintain status quo on the service conditions of migrant bank employees, the court also sought their stands on the bank staffers’ plea challenging clauses 7 and 8 of the SBI’s February 22 order for ‘Acquisition of the State Bank of Mysore.’

The court posted the matter for two weeks while issuing notices to the SBI and the Union Finance Ministry seeking their stands

The respondent officials of the SBI and the Union Ministry of Finance are directed to maintain Status quo in respect of exercising options of A and B Provisions and also seniority, said the court.

The Union government had ordered merger of subsidiary banks, the State Bank of Travancore, the State Bank of Hyderabad, the State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, the State Bank of Patiala and the State Bank of Mysore with the State Bank of India on February 22, 2017.

This order was challenged by J Murali of Virugambakkam and 16 other employees of the State Bank of Mysore.

The petitioners had sought court directions to declare clauses 7 and 8 of the SBI’s February 22 acquisition order as well as a subsequent order termed `offer of employment in SBI’ dated March 29 by the SBI chief general manager (HR) as “illegal and unconstitutional.”

The petitioners sought these orders and their provisions to be declared illegal as far as they “imposed new service conditions on the officers/employees of the merged banks without negotiation and consent.”

The petitioners argued that on acquisition the officers of the erstwhile subsidiary banks become integrated with the State Bank of India and hence there cannot be different conditions of service between the existing officers of the State Bank of India and the migrant bank employees.

They contended that the SBI, “imposed discriminatory conditions like denial of special compensation allowance and special balancing amount available to their own officers, besides denying them four additional increments to the probationary and trainee officers and maintaining disparity in superannuation benefits.”

They said Clause 7 imposes new service conditions for them in the SBI without the ‘informed consent’ of the employees, while Clause 8 requires them to give an option to chose conditions of service within 15 days, failing which their option will be deemed to have been given to certain adverse terms of service.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.