Ludhiana, August 22, 2012: On the call given by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), nearly 10 lakh of bank employees and officers working in the Public Sector Banks, Private Banks, Foreign Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Co-operative Banks are observing two-days nationwide strike starting from today.
Today, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, All India Bank Officers’ Confederation and All India Bank Officers’ Association held a massive rally infront of Canara Bank, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Ludhiana.
Sudesh Kumar, Chairman, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, V.K.Sood, Senior Vice President, PBEF Ludhiana Unit, Ashok Awasthy, President, PBEF Ludhiana Unit, Naresh Gaur, Secretary, PBEF Ludhiana Unit, V.K.Jethi, Circle President, All India PNB Officers’ Association, D.P.Maur, General Secretary, Joint Council of Trade Unions,and Amarjit Singh, Divisional Secretary, L.I.C. of India addressed the bank employees.
While addressing the bank employees, leaders of the Federation said that the call for strike today was on the certain issues and demands. They said they demanded settlement of pending demands and stopping arbitrary guidelines on HR issues, unilateral implementation of Khandelwal Committee recommendations, outsourcing of bank jobs, banking sector reforms and closure of rural branches.
Speakers regretted that various important issues raised by UFBU still remained unresolved. These issues included compassionate appointment, revised housing loan scheme to bank employees, improvements in pension scheme, proper implementation of settlement, denial of pension option to persons opted under VRS and those resigned their jobs for want of VRS, defined and regulated working hours, 5 day banking.
They urged to retrograde recommendations of Khandelwal Committee. They said the government had appointed the Khandelwal Committee to suggest changes in Human Resources policies in the banks. The committee had mainly recommended bank specific wage structure based on profitability, productivity, introduction of fixed and variable pay concept, they added.
They pointed out that a portion of wage would be fixed and balance would vary according to performance which would result in division of employees and promote sycophancy, settlements with unions on transfer of employees to be reviewed and to give free hand to the managements to transfer employees from place to place.
They said the Committee had suggested that 50% of officers’ vacancies should be filled directly from the market instead of promoting clerks which would seriously affect the career of employees.
Further, speakers said banking industry was one of the potential employment generating agencies in the country. But in the last 20 years, recruitments were virtually banned and after their struggle, some recruitments were taking place recently. “But this is totally inadequate”, they said, adding bank’s business had increased manifold. More and more services have been undertaken but matching recruitments are not taking place”, they rued.
Adding, they said in the next few years, large scale retirements would take place and hence further recruitment was needed. But , banks were trying to outsource the regular and permanent jobs to contract employees. This would reduce the scope for permanent jobs and affect the job security. This would also result in exploitation of unemployed youth. “We oppose outsourcing of permanent jobs and demanding adequate recruitments and revival of BSRBs for recruitment of bank staff”, they said.
Regarding banking reforms, banks in India today had nearly Rs. 60 lakh crore as Deposits representing the hard-earned savings of the people of the country. Hence banking institutions had to be properly regulated.
They also said the government was making efforts to close down rural branches under the plea of non-viability but with the aim to hand over rural banking to private outsourced agencies/business correspondents in the name of converting them as Ultra Small Branches.
Among others, Punjab Bank Employees Federation, Ludhiana secretary Naresh Gaur spoke on the occasion.