United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) has given a clarion call for Nation-wide Bank Strike on 27th June 2022 demanding 1. Introduction of 5 day banking – all Saturdays and Sundays to be holidays, 2. Updation of Pension and provision for updation in Pension Regulations 3. Scrapping National Pension System (NPS) for post – April 2010 employees and officers and implementation of old pension scheme for them 4. Resolution of pending residual issues and 5. Extension of wage revision in CSB Bank (Catholic Syrian Bank) and DBS Bank ( e-Lakshmi Vilas Bank).
11th Bipartite Settlement
The 11th Bipartite settlement was clinched through a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) on 22nd July 2020 after a protracted struggle, after 32 months since it became due and after 44 rounds of discussions. Bank Employees Federation of India did not sign the MoU on the ground that 5 day banking, pension updation and scrapping of NPS were not part of the MoU besides differences on other issues like loading of Basic Pay, PLI, Family pension etc. Immediately after the settlement was signed on 11th November 2020, minutes were exchanged between Indian Banks Association (IBA) and four workmen Unions on 10th Dec 2020 and between IBA and four officers Associations on 4th January 2021. Since then IBA has been dragging its feet in settling these issues.
5 day banking
There is no logic for IBA to refuse 5 day banking as it is widely prevalent in Central Government, State Governments, RBI, General Insurance etc. Moreover it has been recently introduced in Life Insurance subsequent to the 11th Bipartite Settlement. The work-life balance can be better achieved only through this.
Updation of Pension
Pension has been introduced in 1995 with effect from 1st Jan 1986. It has not been revised since its introduction. The Government has been dragging its feet without any rhyme or reason. Several pensioners’ Associations have come out with accurate calculations that this would not involve any additional cost at all. Instead of settling this issue promptly, IBA and Government have been indefinitely prolonging. A specific provision is needed to be added in the Pension Regulations so that after updation of pension of the past retirees, a scheme is available for periodical updation of pension in future on occasion of wage revision for in-service employees.
Abolition of NPS
NPS has to be scrapped. It is not guaranteeing any pension amount. It is purely speculative. There have been massive agitations by various sections of employees against NPS. As a result the Rajasthan and Chattisgarh Governments have announced scrapping of NPS and restoration of old defined benefit pension scheme to their employees covered under NPS. Many other State Governments have formed committees for implementation of old pension scheme to their employees. UFBU has been demanding abolition of NPS and implementation of old pension scheme for more than a decade.
Pending residual issues
There are other issues like improvement in Group Medical Insurance Scheme, improvement in staff welfare scheme, Increase in conveyance allowance to physically challenged employees, improvement in calculation of pension, payment of special compensatory allowance to those working in North East, Jammu and Himachal Pradesh etc.
Extension of 11th Bipartite to CSB and DBS employees & officers
The employees and officers of CSB Bank and DBS have to be extended 11th Bipartite Settlement. Number of strike actions took place in CSB Bank. But the management of CSB Bank remains adamant. While the management of erstwhile LVB gave mandate to the IBA for 11th Bipartite Settlement, the DBS Bank, upon taking over LVB withdrew this mandate and hence their employees are denied wage revision on account of 11th Bipartite Settlement.
All these issues are very genuine and they have to be resolved within a short time-frame as the period of 11th Bipartite Settlement is coming to an end in November 2022. These issues have to be resolved before taking up the issues of the 12th Bipartite Settlement. As the attitude of IBA and the Union Government is very unhelpful and as they adopt dilatory tactics, UFBU has given a clarion call for a Nation-wide strike on 27th June 2022. 10 lakh Bank employees and officers working in the entire banking industry will be on strike on that day. The strike will be preceded by many agitation programmes which include demonstrations, dharna etc. The success of the strike is paramount to get justice for the serving employees in Public Sector and Private Sector Banks as well as retired employees.