UK - The London branch of an Indian bank is facing an all-out strike after staff claimed its pension arrangements discriminate against men.
The Bank of Baroda’s UK staff association says that any male employee who opts to retire at 60 receives a pension 20% less than a woman who has to retire at that age.
Staff say the bank reneged on an agreed deal to standardise the retirement age for male and female employees at 60.
Staff association general secretary Sachi Pillai said: “We were promised by management in 1998 and by the board of directors that given the time, they would rectify the situation – it has been going on since then.”
Pillai claims the bank reneged on the deal because it was not making a profit, an assertion he disputes.
But Bank of Baroda UK chief executive K.C. Chakrebarty said: “In the UK balance sheet there is an accumulated loss. It is not me saying this, it is the balance sheet.”
Chakrebarty said employees should “work harder so profit improves and I can meet some of the demands”.
He insists he is in talks with employees, but Pillai claims the bank is “not prepared to listen to us and rectify the situation”.
Members have voted to begin an all-out strike if the company does not immediately take action.
The staff association – the trade body which the bank recognises – represented 87 of the bank’s 97 staff at the time of the vote.
Since then, remaining staff have voluntarily come forward to join the group and take part in the action.
The strike is due to begin on October 1 and will continue indefinitely.
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