By our correspondent
Industry wide 11th bipartite settlement for bank employees and officers was signed between IBA and UFBU on 11th November 2020. Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI) did not sign the settlement as Pension updation, Five day Banking, Improvement in family pension, scrapping of NPS & restoration of DA linked Pension Scheme…. were not settled.
19 months had elapsed since the signing of this settlement. There were two rounds of negotiations with the workmen and officers unions / associations immediately after signing of the 11th bipartite settlement, wherein it was agreed to start negotiations on the residual issues. Yet this remains on paper. IBA has been reluctant to settle many important pending issues.
Repeated letters from UFBU and agitations including demonstrations could not break the ice. Left with no other options, UFBU from its 8th June 2022 meeting decided to launch agitational programmes culminating in a day’s strike on 27th June 2022. The general cadres were furious with the adamancy of IBA and this was well reflected in all the demonstrative and dharna programmes preceding the strike. A large number of members mostly youth and also the pensioners joined the agitations to register their anger and anguish over the treatment meted out to them by the IBA.
Taking the strike notice, the CLC called the IBA and UFBU for a conciliation meeting on 21st June 2022, which ended in a failure because of the posture adopted by the IBA. In the next conciliation meeting on 23rd June 2022, IBA appeared to have relented from its stance and agreed to hold negotiations with UFBU (except BEFI) on 01st July 2022 and based on this, the strike on 27th June 2022 was deferred.
In its letter to UFBU convenor on 23rd June 2022, BEFI says:
“Invitation was made to UFBU (except BEFI) by IBA for a meeting on 1st July 2022 referring the Supplementary minutes signed separately with Workmen Unions and Officers Associations on 10.12.2020 and 04.01.2021 respectively.
Neither you during the meetings of UFBU constituents nor the Senior Advisor (HR&IR), IBA informed that BEFI will not be invited in the meeting slated on 1st July 2022 though BEFI was an integral part of the strike call. Hence, exclusion of BEFI was not minuted during the conciliation meeting. Moreover, IBA in its letter intended to discuss on the Supplementary minutes dated 10.12.2020 and 04.01.2021, both of which did not include two of our following demands:
- Scrap NPS for post-April 2010 employees/officers and implement old pension scheme for them;
- Extend wage revision on CSB (Catholic Syrian Bank) Bank and DBS Bank (e-Lakshmi Vilas Bank)”
Hence BEFI questioned the logic behind leaving BEFI for negotiations with IBA.
The residual issues are nothing but on which BEFI raised its voice to make them part of the 11th bipartite settlement before signing. Hence, it becomes all the more imperative that BEFI should be called for negotiations slated for 1st July 2022 and any such meetings in future. Bank employees and officers besides the retirees expect that the unity of UFBU is further strengthened as there is a need to fight against danger of privatisation in the days to come.