The merger of five associate banks — State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Patiala (SBP), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT) — with State Bank of India (SBI) with effect from April 1, 2017, has not gone down well with the employees of the associate banks.
The biggest grievance is the provident fund (PF) benefit which is being extended to these employees is with effect from April 1, 2017, as against their dates of joining, which they claim is unfair. All employees of the five associate banks have been given new offer letters pursuant to the merger.
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It may be mentioned that the SBI employees currently get the benefit from the date of joining. "When you (SBI) discriminate, who will be happy?" an officer with SBBJ working in Jaipur told International Business Times, India.
Another officer working at SBM for the past almost four decades and now posted in Bengaluru, voiced the same concern. "The offer letter sent to us (for the formal absorption as SBI employees) says that we will get PF benefit from the date of merger, that is 1st April, 2017. This is unfair."
The ABOA, or Associate Banks Officers's Association, which represents about 28,000 officers of the associate banks, is likely to take up the matter with the SBI, they said.
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The merger of the five banks — SBP, SBH and SBT besides the SBM and SBBJ — is also bound to result in a sharp decline in workforce after merger.
"Post merger, we will be at 2,77,000 people in SBI. This may come down to 2,60,000 by March 2019. So it may be less than 10 per cent. Let us first merge and see the impact of the key process changes. Manpower will go down with the period of time," SBI Managing Director Rajnish Kumar told IANS.
The comfort for the employees, so to speak, will be that the fall in headcount won't be abrupt.
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"We have offered voluntary retirement scheme (VRS), there would be natural attritions and every year we may not replace head by head (replacement recruitment). Manpower will also reduce as a result of digital initiatives. There will be a combined effect," Kumar said.