Employee unions of ING Vysya Bank on Sunday demanded safeguarding of their interests post-merger with Kotak Bank and threatened to go on strike on January 7 — the day on which the Bengaluru-headquartered lender will seek shareholders’ nod to approve the Rs 15,000-crore merger deal.To ensure that interests of all the stakeholders are ‘protected’, S A Sridhar from the ING Vysya Bank officers’ association said a “tri-partite agreement” between Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB), ING Vysya Bank, and employees and officers, be signed which will lay out all points in detail. Also Read – I-T issues 17-point checklist to trace unaccounted DeMO cashThe All India ING Vysya Bank Employees Union and All India ING Vysya Bank Officiers Association, which together represent 35 per cent of the Bangalore-headquartered lender’s over 10,000 employees as members, however, said they are not opposing the merger but want their interests to be protected.”We have an apprehension as the new management at KMB does not have an Union and believes in outsourcing its work. What will be the fate of our employees after the merger?” Ramkrishna Reddy, general secretary of the employees union told reporters here. He added that recently KMB wrote to all the ING Vysya Bank employees to allay the concerns but ‘bypassed’ the unions. Also Read – Lanka launches ambitious tourism programme to woo Indian touristsReddy emphasised that the Uday Kotak-led bank should go through the union if it is “sincere” about its efforts. ING Vysya Bank spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment. However, a representative for ING Vysya Bank referred to legal opinion of advisors to the deal, which said such a tripartite agreement is “infructuous”. There is no precedent of such an agreement in previous bank mergers, the legal opinion said, alleging that such a demand “seems to be red herring i.e. something that misleads or distracts from relevant issues”. ING employees and officers want internal MoUs to continue post-merger, and also stressed that perks and benefits decided by industry body IBA be continued, Sridhar said. Kotak Mahindra Bank spokesperson Rohit Rao said: “The merger process entails as per the Banking Regulation Act, approval of the shareholders and thereafter approval from the RBI in addition to CCI’s approval.”All protection related to employees have already been captured in the scheme of amalgamation which upon approval by RBI, Kotak Mahindra Bank shall fully standby and are obligated to comply with including sections relation to employees job security, wages, pension, gratuity etc.”As is evident we would like to start with good faith constructive approach that secures all employees and creates growth for all stakeholders including employees after the RBI order, Rao added.In a letter, KMB’s Joint Managing Director Dipak Gupta has written to ING Vysya Bank’s Chief Executive designate Uday Sareen saying that KMB will be honouring all IBA settlements and bi-partite agreements.