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HC restrains IDBI Bank officials from resorting to four-day strike from March 28

In a relief to the management and customers of the IDBI Bank Ltd., the Karnataka High Court on Thursday restrained the officers and workmen of the bank from resorting to strike from March 28 to 31 as “threatened” by various unions; and issued guidelines to prevent them from causing obstruction to bank’s services.

About 769 Officers and 38 other employees are working in different branches of the bank in Karnataka.

Justice Raghvendra S Chauhan passed the interim order on the petition filed by the Bank’s management challenging the notices, issued by the United Platform of IDBI Bank Unions, the United Forum of IDBI Officers and Employees, the IDBI Officers Organisation, and the IDBI Karmachari Sangh, intimating the management of their plan to go on strike.

Observing that “if the banking operations are brought to a halt, the domino effect is not only on the people of the country, but also on the health of the economy of the country, and the strike will have a cascading effect, it is imperative that the respondents are prevented from carrying out the strike, especially when prima facie there is a violation of Rules…,” the Court said.

It was contended by the bank’s counsel that the announcement, made in the Union Budget that the Government may reduce share holding of Government of India below 51 per cent in the petitioner-bank, had led fear amongst officers and workmen that there could be change in their service conditions and their retention in service may be under cloud.

Despite the assurances given by the bank to its officers and workmen they proposed to strike work for four days from March 28, the bank’s counsel said while pointing out that strike would impact as the bank seriously as it is already facing dire financial difficulties due to losses of Rs.1,929 crore between April 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015.

Also, it was pointed out to the Court that officers’ call to strike work was illegal as the IDBI Staff Rules, 1980, prohibits the bank’s officers from going on strike, joining any federation, trade unions, etc. As it would be bank holiday from March 25 to 27, the strike proposed from March 28 to 31 would cripple the banking activity for eight consecutive days, the management said.

Following are the High Court’s directions to IDBI officials:

Officers and workmen restrained from…

* Any act that would obstruct bank’s activity in Karnataka

* Threatening or intimidating, abusing, gheraoing or wrongfully confining any officer or staff or customer of bank

* Holding meetings, demonstration, squatting; organising unlawful assemblies in and around 25 meters from in the bank’s premises without prior permission from bank in writing

* Shouting slogans or using loudspeakers, etc within 25 meter distance from bank’s premises

* Displaying, pasting or painting posters or slogans within bank’s premises or outside walls, gates, etc

* Damaging, defacing or destroying bank’s properties

* Obstructing free movement of customer, investor or vehicles to and from bank’s premises.

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