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Will the 11th Bipartite Settlement fulfil the expectations of Bank Employees?

  • Guest Writer
  • April 21, 2018
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Will the 11th Bipartite Settlement fulfil the expectations of Bank Employees?

Will the established unions in Banking Industry take some lessons from the storm created by “We Bankers”?
At one time Employees of Public Sector Banks were getting higher Pay Scales and have now come down to bottom level amongst the Public Sector. They are looking forward to finalisation of their 11th Bipartite Negotiations. They were cheated during the few earlier Negotiations/Settlements and we are hoping that the earlier injustice gets redressed during this settlement and they will get honourable salary increase.

The 10th Bipartite Agreement for Bank Employees has expired on 31st October, 2017 and the negotiation talks on 11th Bipartite Agreement have begun; however the negotiations have not come on right tracks so far. The hopes of Bank Employees were high when the Finance Ministry issued a letter to IBA (Indian Banks Associations) one year in advance before expiry of the Agreement and advised to finalise negotiations before the expiry of the earlier Agreement. Bank employees were happy to know that the Government was keen to finalise wage settlement in time. However these Government directives proved to be a gimmick only. The Bank Employees came to know that this was one more promise of the present Government amongst many such promises. After expiry of Six months nothing concrete has come out of the negotiations for the 11th wage settlement.
In fact the Bank Employee is going through a different stage today due to changes in Bank-working and over and above the implementation of new Government schemes. Tremendous increase of work-load and reduction in staff strength has affected the Business: Employee ratio very badly. The Bank Employee has been trapped between ever increasing work load and reducing wage structure.

Over and above their regular duties/work, Bank Employees have been forced to do marketing of various Bank Products and in Implementation of various Central Government schemes. In past the Award Staff (Clerical and Sub-staff cadre) was getting compensation by way of overtime for their late hours working. However, now days they have to work late hours and are not getting even a cup of Tea. Not only in emergencies, in routine conditions also, have many Bank Employees had to work till late night in Banks. After Demonetisation this condition was faced by Bank workers very seriously. If the Bank Employees had not worked day & night without raising any voice and had not helped Demonetisation work, the woes of common citizens would have been very serious.

Bank Employees worked under tremendous stress during demonetisation, waited till dawn in branches. However when the issue of Payment of overtime came, except one or two banks, no other Banks have paid overtime. The Bank Administration failed miserably during this sudden unexpected attack. Bank Branches had to store Cash received by them in gunny begs as they were not having Cash Boxes in the required number. The bags were lying in branches for days together. Thereafter when shortage of cash was noticed in the bags, bank cashiers were threatened with initiating Departmental Inquiries. They were forced to make good the shortage from their own pockets. Even after performing heavy workload if the salaries are inadequate, what should the workers do?
Once upon a time Bank Job was considered to be very luxurious and lucrative. However the situation has changed completely and neither Finance Ministry is ready to accept this fact nor is the common man aware of it. In fact the common man is having a lot of misunderstanding about Bank Employees. To make the position clear: Till the Fourth

Bipartite Wage Settlement, Bank Employee was on Second Position in Public Sector. However on the basis of Comparative Study made by us, the Bank Employee has slipped down to 17th position and on 67th position after the Tenth Bipartite Wage Settlement. The following Chart will explain the position further:
9560.00 17260.00 11765.00 20958.00 23700.00 41997.00
18545.00 32987.00 31540.00 55518.00 45950.00 80609.00
18000.00 26030.00 25500.00 38790.00 44900.00 65562.00
25600.00 36536.00 36400.00 53684.00 68000.00 96080.00

The comparison between a Central Government Clerk/Officer, from the above Chart, it is seen that, after the Seventh Pay Commission, a Government Fourth Grade Employee is getting higher salary than a Bank Clerk. Who is responsible for the precarious Financial condition of Bank Employees, who have kept the National Economy Strong even during the Global Meltdown? Whether Unions operating in Banking Sector, Finance Ministry or Employees themselves?

The first choice of the white collared- well educated middle class candidates was for Bank Jobs. The present generation is also not an exception to this choice. The craze for Bank Job makes even MBAs, Engineers and Post Graduates to join Bank Service. The young generation is however got totally frustrated because of the present pay scales and working conditions prevailing in Banks. For avoiding such a situation the unions negotiating with IBA (Indian Banks Association) should have placed proper demands before the managements. But even after the World has changed, conditions have changed; the leadership of Bank Unions is not ready to change according to the situations. When the Banks were in a position to Offer/pay those leaders did not accept. And now when Banks are going through bad conditions, Bank Employees and Officers are not responsible for the same, Bank Managements are solely responsible for it.

During the IXth & Xth settlements, I had personally brought to the notice of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) that the span of scales should be brought down. The 25 stages/years span during the IInd settlement was brought down to 20 Stages subsequently. During the last 40 years we have never given a thought for reduction of span. If their span was reduced to 15 stages during the VIIth or VIIIth settlement, the frustrations amongst the Bank Employees wound not have grown to the present situation. If the Employee at the first stage was brought to the sixth stage he would have got five increments which could have given an increase of Rs. Five to six thousand in increments(fixation) and another four to five thousand by way of increase in salary i.e. around Rs. Ten thousand as increase in Gross salary.
Likewise, if the 12 years span for Scale –I Officers was brought down to 7 years; Span of scale-II Officers from 12 to 7 years, the frustrations amongst the Bank Officers would have become less.

Rising of “We Bankers” :
The Younger generation in Banks has now come on road with the Demand for implementation of the provisions of Seventh Pay Commission for Banks. Fresh recruits in Banks have united under the banner of “We Bankers”, and have thrown an open challenge to established unions with the demand for bringing Bank Employees under Central government Pay Commission.
The Leaders of the Established Bank Unions in Banks instead of making Self-introspection of the situation, are engaged in giving explanations that “We Bankers” are not a registered Union, they are registered under Charitable Society Act, they do not have any right to demand for Pay Commission, etc. Instead of that introducing new system of Wage Settlement and bringing the Bank Wage structure on the level of Seventh Pay Commission is one Remedy to control the growth of ‘We Bankers’.

The fresh Bank recruits are highly qualified; they have the knowledge of what is good for them and what is bad. Recently they had organised a mammoth Dharna at Delhi on the same day of United Forum of Bank Unions’ Dharna. This Dharna was just close to the UFBU Dharna and the participation was much more (Many times more) than the participation in UFBU Dharna. This is the clear indication to the Leaders of Bank Union (UFBU Leaders) to analyse their stand and go for deep self- retrospection. There is an urgent need to bring down span of scales. Otherwise the situation of Bank Unions and Bank Employees will be defeated on all fronts, forget about satisfactory Wage- Revision.!

Subhash S. Sawant
General Secretary
Indian National Bank Employees’ Federation.

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