Massive rally organized by UFBU Ludhiana 

Demonstration demanding wage revision

Massive rally organized by UFBU Ludhiana 

Ludhiana: On the call given by United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) a massive rally was organized by UFBU Ludhiana in front of State Bank of India, Civil Lines Fountain Chowk, Ludhiana. Various leaders of UFBU, Com. Naresh Gaur, Convenor UFBU, Com. Pawan Thakur, President Punjab Bank Employees’ Federation (PBEF, AIBEA) Ludhiana, Com. Ashok Arora, Com. G S Mangat, Com. J P Kalra from AIBOC, Com. Iqbal Singh Malhi and Com. K.K.Khullar from NCBE, Com. Gurmeet Singh and Com. Chiranjeev Joshi from AIBOA addressed the demonstration on this occasion.

The protest was held against the long pending wage revision of the bank employees since 2017 inspite of various negotiations held between the UFBU and IBA.

While addressing the rally Com. Naresh Gaur said that, today’s rally is a part of the agitational programme after two day’s Strike on January 31 and February 1 2020 which will be followed by strike for 3 days on 11th, 12th and 13th March, 2020 and further following by continuous indefinite strike from the 1st April, 2020 on certain  demands.

He said, Whereas as Settlement/Joint Note of previous settlement was signed by the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) with the Employees Unions and Officers Organisations in the Banks on 25-05-2015 covering revision of wages and improvements in other service conditions for the period from 1-11-2012 to 31-10-2017 and the operation of the said Settlement/Joint  Note was to end by31-10-2017 and the need would arise to revise the emoluments and serviceconditions with effect from 1-11-2017. The Unions and Associations submitted common Charter ofDemands for the 11th wage revision bipartite settlement to the Indian Banks  Association (IBA) in February, 2017 and May, 2017 with a plea to the IBA to take up the demands for discussions and early resolution so that the revised pay scales, allowances and service conditions can be implemented from the due date i.e. 1-11-2017. Having regard to the delay in negotiations and finalizing the Settlements in the past, as early as 12-1-2016, the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India advised all the Banks as well the Indian Banks Association to initiate the process of wage revision and conclude it prior to the effective date i.e. 1-11-2017. 

Having  regard to avoid the delay in arriving at a settlement, the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India reminded the Banks and IBA several times with their reminder communications to complete the wage revision process without delay. The IBA commenced the discussions with the Unions on 2-5-2017with the assurance that the discussions would be completed by October, 2017;

Till now the Negotiating Committee of the IBA held 21 rounds of discussions negotiations and also held discussions with the Sub-Committees of Workmen Unions and Officers Associations on various dates and occasions.

In the last 20 months, in the discussions held with the Unions, after great amount of persuasion, they increased their offer to 6%, then to 8%, then to 10%, then to 12% and recently on 13-1-2020 to 12.25%. We have been repeatedly pointing out that in the last wagesettlement, the hike was at 15% on payslip cost and hence the offer of IBA should be much higher this time in as much as all the Banks doing well and earning higher Operating Profits year after year, and the scope and rate of recovery of bad loans having been adequately improved as per their own statements;

Whereas, the IBA kept on avoiding the issue and never made any offer on the question of wage increase even though discussions have taken place on other non-financial demands of the Unions. Whereas, in February, 2018, the Unions decided to give the call for All India Strike on 15-3-2018 and in this background, the IBA invited the Unions for further negotiations on 21-2-2018 and the Unions were looking forward to participate in the discussions to take the issue forward.

Suddenly, on the plea of developments relating to Nirav Modi fraud in Punjab National Bank, the IBA cancelled this meeting proposed for 21-2-2018. Whereas, in the context of such exasperating and frustrating delay in negotiations, the United Forum of Bank Unions met the Hon. Finance Minister, Government of India on 21-3-2018 and submitted a Memorandum seeking his intervention. After patient hearing of our submission, the Hon. Finance Minister advised the Unions to meet the Secretary, Department of Financial Services. The Unions met the Secretary, Department of Financial Services and explained the issue in detail to him when he assured to advice the IBA to continue the dialogue and expedite the matter. Whereas, in this background of the developments, the IBA invited the Unions for negotiations on 5-5-2018.

There have also been other demands of the Unions likeintroduction of 5 Day Banking, merger of Special Allowance with Basic Pay, Scrap New Pension Scheme, Updation of Pension, Improvement in Family Pension, Allocation to Staff Welfare Fund based on Operating Profits, Exemption from Income Tax on retiral benefits without ceiling, Uniform definition on Business Hours, Lunch Hour, etc. in Branches, Introduction of Leave Bank, Defined Working Hours for Officers, Equal wage for equal work for contract employees/Business Correspondents, etc.

The IBA has been negative on these demands as well by notaccepting these reasonable demands. Consequently, there has been increasing resentment amongst the employees and officers over the delay in reaching the settlement as well as the inadequate offer of the IBA;

The Unions have come to conclusion that calling for agitational programmes and strike actions has become unavoidable to draw the attention of the Government and the IBA/all Bank managements to resolve our demands amicably.
Hence denying reasonable wage revision for the bank employees and officers on this count is unfair, he said.

•    Wage Revision Settlement at 20% hike on Payslip costs with adequate loading thereof
•    5 Day Banking
•    Merger of Special Allowance with Basic Pay
•    Scrap New Pension Scheme
•    Updation of Pension
•    Improvement in Family Pension
•    Allocation to Staff Welfare Fund based on Operating Profits
•    Exemption from Income Tax on retiral benefits without ceilin
•    Uniform definition on Business Hours, Lunch Hour, etc. in Branches
•    Introduction of Leave Bank
•    Defined Working Hours for Officers
•    Equal wage for equal work for contract employees/Business Correspondents