Sun, Nov 20, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Bank unions protest proposed mergers

AP , TAIPEI

Thousands of union members and bank employees wave banners during a rally against bank mergers near the Presidential Office in Taipei yesterday. Unions fear the government's policy of creating stronger banks through mergers and privatizations will cause job losses. The demonstrators threatened to go on strike to protest the government's plan.

PHOTO: AP

A crowd of bank union members rallied in downtown Taipei yesterday, threatening to go on strike to protest the government's plan to merge state-run banks.

About 2,000 union members, waving banners and shouting slogans near the Presidential Office, said they feared the government's policy of creating stronger banks by mergers and privatizations will cause job losses.

In September, the government dropped plans to privatize the Taiwan Business Bank (台灣企銀) after a four-day strike by the bank's union -- reportedly the first nation-wide work stoppage at a major financial institution.

On Thursday, the government announced its decision to merge the Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) with the smaller Central Trust of China (中央信託局).

Taiwan has 48 banks, none of which has a market share of more than 10 percent. The government controls 50 percent to 60 percent of the island's banking assets.

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