1.14 Lakh LIC Employees Protest Against Privatisation; Massive Strike On This Date
LIC employees have declared a single day strike across the country effective from today.
They are demanding that the Centre recall its disinvestment program which would impact LIC.
The livelihoods of 114,000 employees are at risk, according to the organisers.
United Forum of Bank Union (UFBU) which has 9 bank unions under its umbrella had already implemented a 2 day strike earlier this week which saw enthusiastic participation from 10 lakh bank employees and officers.
Protesters’ Areas of Concern
The govt had announced during the Union Budget presentation that the FDI cap will be increased to 74% from the erstwhile 49%.
Further developments include the govt’s plans to sell off its stake in LIC via public listing or IPO. Presently it is wholly owned by the govt and is the largest insurance provider in India.
The concerned bodies have expressed that the move is unnecessary since LIC has always delivered on its objectives without any nudging.
All India Insurance Employees’ Association (AIIEA) commented that the two proposals in the Budget are against the interests of not only the insurance sector but also the national economy and citizens.
The final issue is with regards to wage revision for LIC employees which LIC has responded with a 16% hike in wages after multiple talks.
Why Govt is Chasing Privatisation
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Union Budget 2021, had announced the govt’s intentions to file an IPO for LIC along with a disinvestment target of Rs 1.75 lakh crores.
The disinvestment concerns IDBI Bank and 2 public sector banks along with one general insurance company.
The proceeds from these rounds will be later reinvested to finance social and economic development programs.
The Govt’s Response
Sitharaman responded on the 2nd day of strike that the interests of employees of soon to be privatised banks will be protected.
All the while she also acknowledged that even after privatisation business will resume as usual.
The govt has also clarified that it does not intend to privatise LIC.
An IPO was planned simply to increase its market share in the largest insurer in India and to attract additional investments.
Junior finance minister Anurag Thakur said that job loss shouldn’t be a concern since that will not happen just because LIC is now being listed in the stock market.