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3/10/2013

Views of Himadri on 10th Bipartite Settlement For Bank Employees

10TH BIPARTITE SETTLEMENTS FOR BANKS—VIE FOR PAY PARITY WITH GOI EMPLOYEES, NOTHING LESS. A myth has been steadily gaining ground and being publicized by some radical people that, PS bank employees are lucratively compensated and so biased has been the propaganda against bank employees, that, even a justified demand of bank employees for migration to a 5 day week working system, so much in sync with established practices prevalent in developed countries raises a hostile furor in the media. But, to get the real picture, one need not go further, just a simple comparison with the pay and allowances being given to the employees in central governments and state governments,after the implementation of VIth pay commission recommendations, will reveal the stark disparity. A closer scrutiny will divulge that, bank employees, particularly, PSU bank employees are actually,among the poorly paid lot. If the comparison is carried out in line with the concept of ‘external relativity’ ie. comparison of the compensation structure within an organization with the compensation offered by the market/peer group, the quantum of disparity will simply be eye popping.Comparative salary and benefits, as on April, 2010 payables to govt. employees as per VIth Pay Commission and to bank employees as allowed under 9th Bipartite Settlement between Bank Unions and IBA(Please click the above link to view the full data)(In this table, past data taken to illustrate the stark differences) It is evident from the given chart that government employees are getting substantially more than salaries being paid to their counterparts in PS Banks. It will also not be out of place to mention that many public sector undertakings are even paying more to their employees than govt. employees. It is more painful to see that a bank officer is being paid less than a clerk of govt. and a clerk of bank is being paid less than a group D (peon) employee of central govt. What to talk of a sub-staff (4th class)in banks. The chart below depicts the saga of unequal treatment and all about the stark difference in pay,between GOI employees and PSU Bank employees and depicts the injustice being done to all PS bank employees and allowed to continue unabated for so long. Do, bank employees, after working for ten to eleven hours daily, for six days in a week and under trying conditions, deserve salaries much below their counterparts in govenment offices? It is a shame and deliberate belittling of the 'dignity of labour' of bank employees. To top it all,while employees of government departments are allowed one more day of rest everyweek, for unwinding, bank employees are expected to be human robots expected to go on and on without such rest and recuperation and their justified demand for introduction of 5 day weeks are put to back burner when our neighbouring countries like Pakistan, has implemented it last year and now reaping the associated benefits. Before 1979,salary of a group A officer of central government was less than that of a bank officer.So, PILLAI committee was constituted to work out a parity between the two and it happened with the implementation of PILLAI committee recommendation on 01-07-1979 and the starting salary of a class A officer of central government was pegged at Rs 700 per month ie. equivalent to that of a bank officer, at that time. Parity sought to be established by the PILLAI committee, way back in July 1979,between salary of group A officers of central government and Bank officers,ignored in subsequent pay revisions and the breach continued to widen and climaxed with implementation of the 6th pay commission recommendations.. The PILLAI Committee rightly observed that the functions and responsibilities of bank officers in the new set-up were comparable to those of Group ‘A’ Officers in the Central Government and suggested pay parity between them The parity which was established by implementing the Pillai Committee Recommendations was steadily distorted by subsequent Pay Commission revisions. The disparity climaxed , with the implementation Sixth Pay Commission, the wages of Group ‘A’ Officers zoomed ahead the bank officers’ wages. The concept of ‘External relativity’ consigned to a quiet entombment. Many State Governments have now followed suit and adopted the Sixth Pay Commission Recommendations. A number of public sector undertakings have implemented the Pay Commission recommendations as a benchmark for their salary revision and paying even more to placate their workforce. To top it all, central government employees also have 5 days working weeks. After seeing the stupendous rate of growth in pay of GOI officers vis a vis, dismal rate of growth of pay of PSU bank officers in corresponding bi partite settlements, as depicted in the above chart, will any body say that, bank employees are earning piles of money on account of hefty salaries ? INCREASED WORKLOAD FOR BANKS TO COMPLETE THE IGNOMINY CAUSED BY A POOR PAY STRUCTURE: All the factors of production should be accorded with due and justified compensation, matching their contribution to the national development and it ensures ‘due dignity of labour’.But it is seldom happening at PSU banks: The business hours for the customers spanned over four hours a day and working hours for the staff was seven hours with a 30-minute lunch break.It has been extended to six hours a day,albeit, within the daily stipulated working schedule of seven hours.To, take care of back office works and server failures, an officer has to stay late at office and very often, it extends to 11 hours a day, without any matching compensation for late hours worked while in private sector banks, due compensation framework exists for compensating for such late stays. Nationalized banks take great pride in being part of the nation building process and employees of PS banks, oblivious of personal discomforts and hardship to their families, take great strides in furthering the aims of bank nationalization ,by manning remote branches throughout the length and breadth of this country and taking cudgels in carrying the message of ‘financial inclusion’ through out the rural hinterland of this country. Nationalized bank employees embarked on the task of social banking and after duly accomplishing the same, now successfully graduated into ‘global banking’. But, even then, they are being shackled in a salary structure which bring them less than ‘municipal wages’. In spite of undertaking national building activities without any profit earning motives, like, financing cattle in dusty remote villages, operating rural ATMs and loss making rural offices,etc. in 2010-11 PSU banks (27 banks) paid Rs 4,922.66 crore in dividend to government.So, why this reluctance to pay the amount to which the PS bank employees are genuinely entitled to and that too from the income earned by relentless toil of these employees? But the government and negotiators continue to keep mum. So, on the eve of the 10th Bipartite settlement, everybody, working in nationalized banks, should take a pledge not to take anything short of full parity in salary with government employees and uphold the system of external relativity as done by the PILLAI committee, more than 30 years ago and no other benchmark other than the implemented recommendations of VI th pay commission, should be adopted as benchmarks for demanded pay revision. my comments: very well said and shri Himadri recieved four commments on this topic : that are also very impressive.