Retrenched co-op bank employees challenge decision; file caveat in Industrial Court

Around 80 employees of five different branches of the Surat Mahila Nagrik Shahakari Bank were kept away from their work after a decision to this effect was taken by the district administrator.

Written by Express News Service | Surat | Published: February 10, 2009 3:25 am

Around 80 employees of five different branches of the Surat Mahila Nagrik Shahakari Bank were kept away from their work after a decision to this effect was taken by the district administrator. A couple of months ago the government appointed district administrator Kamlesh Patel to oversee the operations after the bank was declared out of ‘clearing house’.

The district administrator had posted notices of retrenchment of 80 employees of the bank working in the five different branches.

The retrenched employees were aware about the step taken by the district administrator and had obtained a stay order from the Labour Court.

On Monday,when the employees went to the bank,the manager told them not to enter the premises as they had been retrenched.

The employees,who had served with the bank for the last 25 years,handed a stay order to the manager,which they had obtained on Saturday. The bank manager overruled the stay order and remained steadfast on his decision. The retrenched employees later filed a caveat in the Industrial Court on Monday evening.

The total strength of employees in the five branches is 131,of which 80 have been retrenched.

A representative of the retrenched staff said on condition of anonymity: “We have already obtained the stay order from the Labour Court and the bank managers are ruling out the orders. This is a contempt of court. We have toiled hard for the growth and development of the bank and now they have retrenched us. This is unbearable. We will protest against this and agitate till we are not taken back.”

Bank sources said that at present it has Rs 6 crore as advances,while the deposits are Rs 28 crore.

The board of directors had made an investment of Rs 19.50 crore in the Madhavpura Merchantile Co-operative bank and Rs 8.50 crore with the home trade security in 2002. Besides,it had also invested crores in the Petrofils company in Vadodara. Both banks had gone bust and even the Petrofil company was shutdown as a result of which the bank suffered huge loss.

To tide over the loss,the bank had reduced the salary of its employees.

Another retrenched employee said they were told that no other bank or organisations is ready to fund the bank or merge it,adding that the bank cannot sustain such a large staff.

He said the bank had generated more than Rs 5 crore from the amount generated from the reduced salary from 2003 to till date.

“We are waiting for the hearing of the stay order in the court,which is on February 12,” he said.

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