Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Progress In Bipartite Settlement For Bank Staff
Leaders of United Front of Bank Unions (UBFU) and that of Indian Banks Association (IBA ) had a meeting on 12th of August 2013 on the issues raised by union leaders which includes wage hike too and which will take the shape of Xth Bipartite Settlement.
Outcome of said meeting as informed by trade union leaders is that IBA has accepted that wage revision will be effective from November 2012 and the DA merger will be at November 2011.It is not at all the decision on incrrease in wages.
Is it an achievement?
Is it a step forward for wage revision after lapse of almost a year from when it become due or from the date Charter of demand was submitted to IBA and government of India?
I am astonished that many staff are treating the said outcome of talk with IBA as an achievement and are celebrating the same. Some brilliant employees have even prepared the chart of modified pay structure keeping in view the DA merger, prepared various charts for different percentage of hike in load to be accepted by IBA and even started calculating probable hike in wages and probable amount of arrears to be received.
I salute those who have presented various probability of pay rise in a nice way and for keeping their colleagues abreast of what is going to happen in pay rise at various rate of hike percentages to be accepted by GOI and IBA. After all it is only presentation of pay structure at various probable rises.It is simply an imagination and prediction of probable wage hike. It does not indicate the attitude , approach and real intention of IBA .
It is known to all that IBA was bound to sanction revision in wages with retrospective effect i.e. from 1st of November 2011 as per IX bipartite settlement signed by them only .IBA as well as UFBU are duty bound to respect their own commitment made in last settlement. Moreover, It is the tradition in banks that in every bipartite settlement signed by Union and IBA in the past, they define its validity and clearly incorporate in every settlement that they will reconsider further wage revision from or after a specified date.
As such there was no need to waste time on finalizing the effective date of Xth Bipartite Settlement. And union leaders were duty bound to submit their Charter of Demand to IBA at least three month before the expiry of last settlement i.e. in the month of July 2011 or August 2011 and they did so.
Similarly in every settlement DA is merged in Basic pay and new formula of DA is fixed as per change in Consumer prize Index. There should not be any hitch or any dispute on how many slabs have to be merged with old basic pay while arriving at new Basic pay .Normally it is assumed that DA equivalent to last quarter of expiry of last settlement is decided for merger.
In this respect also union leaders failed to stick to their position and agreed for DA merger at a date which is one year older with respect to effective date of proposed bipartite settlement.
Therefore, the outcome of last talk is at least not at all encouraging and not at all fit for celebration. Rather it is to be taken as indicator of poor wage hike and delayed wage hike and hence it must be condemned by bank staff in one voice.It proves that union leaders as well as IBA officials are not serious on wage hike and they are willfully in nexus with each other delaying decision on flimsy ground or wasting time on non issues .
As a matter of fact it is absolutely disheartening to observe that even after lapse of almost a year IBA has not come out with their idea of sanctioning a wage hike?
They kept silent on how much increase in wage bill they are likely to accede to. Even union leaders did not build pressure or failed to concentrate on wage hike percentage.
Union leaders should ask one and only one line question to IBA ,” How much percentage of wage hike IBA and GOI are agreeable to sanction and as Union Leaders , they should clearly tell to IBA how much hike is the aspiration of bank staff ?
Once hike in wage bill is decided by IBA and Union leaders , they can define its mode of distribution in basic pay hike or increase in HRA or other amenities.
It is unfortunate and disheartening too that our own leaders are wasting time on insignificant issues and making Charter of Demand longer giving an opportunity to IBA to postpone the talk every time or wasting time on issues which are at present juncture are not much important. As of now bank staff are more concerned on how much wage hike they will be getting from IBA .They are least bothered on other issues like compensation on compassionate ground or hike in hospitalization bill or merger issues.
It is further painful and shameful that IBA has not even thought it fit to say when they are likely to sit for next round of talk. At least they could have indicated that they will call a meeting in a weak or in a fortnight. They do not give much importance to bank staff until there is uproar in Parliament or there is disturbance in Industrial Relation or when pain is caused to customers and common men of the country when bank staff decides for going on strike.
It gives frustration to common bank employees when their leaders lose and waste precious time on begging and getting next date from IBA for next round of talk.
When it was a question of hike of salary of MP or central government employees, it is decided in one or two sittings. But it is fun that for bank staff they have already killed one year time in only deciding date of effect of next settlement.
I am therefore of strong opinion that IBA , GOI and Union leaders should focus on how much rise is possible and this should be decided in not more than a week and not more than two or three sittings should be allowed to take place for such a petty but important issue.
After all bank staff are as important as MPs and central government employees for keeping the economy of the country growing and for keeping the banks healthy. Rather it will not be exaggeration to say that if bank staff are not happy and not well motivated force, they may damage the quality of assets in frustration and consequently damage the economy of the entire country.
And when a decision has to be taken, when Xth Bipartite Settlement is inevitable, When hike is unavoidable, why GOI has a tendency always to defer the decision and cause resentment in working class.
Why do they give chance to employees to resort to strikes and cause problems to common men?
Where our communist brothers are sleeping and why and how they fail to serve working class for which they are meant for?
If the delay in settlement goes beyond normal delay , it is the duty of every staff to build pressure first on their leaders and then on government and IBA. They should flood the office of PMO, IBA, FM and union leaders with petitions from every corner of the country, from every branch of every bank and from every employee.
I had drafted a petition ( Link given below) in this respect, bank employees may use the same , or modify the same or draft a new petition and send the same to all concerned to expedite wage settlement and to get a respectable wage hike without much delay.