For quite some years, Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) has been agitating over an important issue of providing separate toilet for women employees at all the bank branches and three other demands.
To pursue these issues to its logical end, the Women Sub-Committee of BEFI conducted extensive campaign amongst the employees and the general public. Further the Tamilnadu Unit of BEFI organised a day long Dharna at Chennai on 25th June 2016 demanding the bank managements / GOI to concede the just demands participated by more than 200 women and men employees. Similarly dharnas and demonstrations were held in many other parts of the country. These agitation programmes created a big impact on the minds of the general public and the bank employees.
Further BEFI sought details under Right to Information Act from all the Public Sector Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Co-operative banks with regard to separate toilet for women employees. From the information gathered, it was shocking to know that even some of the metropolitan city branches did not have a separate toilet facility for women employees. These demands were raised by the 3rd National Convention of women bank employees of BEFI held at Chennai during 17th and 18th December 2017 and again during the 10th conference of BEFI held at Trivandrum during 28th to 31st Jan 2019 at Trivandrum. Without any letup, these issues were campaigned, agitated and raised in all the platforms and negotiations with the respective Managements by the Units of BEFI.
Canara Bank shows the way
Now Canara Bank has shown the way with regard to providing of separate toilet facility to women employees working at all the branches / offices. A decision had been taken in this regard and the same has been communicated through their inter-office memorandum dated 4th January 2022. They have asked the circle offices to furnish the details of branches with and without exclusive toilet for women employees. Also, they have asked the branches without exclusive toilet for ladies to take up the matter with the land lords of the respective branches / offices to construct a separate toilet for women employees. Further it has been said in that communication that in case the land lords do not agree to construct a separate ladies’ toilet, the bank may construct the same at Bank’s cost.
It is really commendable that Canara Bank had come forward to provide a separate toilet for women employees. The Government and the Indian Banks Association (IBA) may impress upon other banks also to follow Canara Bank which has shown the way with regard to providing separate toilet for women employees.