The Public Sector Banks (PSB) owned by Government of India are supposed to be the model employers. They have to abide by the laws of the land. They have to be a role model in dealing with the Human Resources. But are they like that? The approach of the Public Sector Bank Managements is becoming worse day by day with regard to Human Resources issues. The laws of the land, the Industry-wide bipartite settlements and Joints Notes are not respected.
The PSB Managements engage thousands of daily wagers in Subordinate Staff cadre in violation of the laws of the land. But they flatly refuse their regularization. They deny them even their legitimate minimum wages according to the Minimum Wages Act 1948. They refuse to pay their legal entitlements like Bonus, PF to the daily wagers.
The PSB Managements have started outsourcing many jobs in violation of the laws of the land and the Eighth industry-wide bipartite settlement. Any violation of the Settlement will attract Sec.29 of the Industrial Disputes (ID) Act which reads as : “Any person who commits a breach of any term of any settlement or award, which is binding on him under this Act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine or with both”.
In May 2022, one PSB indiscriminately resorted to mass transfers of the clerical staff. The Unions approached the labour machinery. Many of the Labour commissioners questioned the stand of the PSB and issued notice to the Bank while invoking sec.33 of the ID Act which stipulates upon the Management to maintain status quo. But the General Manger (HR) of that Bank issued circular to the Regional Heads not to abide by the orders of the Labour Commissioners and instructed them to violate the ID Act. This act clearly attracts Sec.31 of the ID Act which states that “Any employer who contravenes the provisions of section 33 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both”.
Still with impunity they resort to violation of the labour laws.
With regard to the officers, the PSB Managements have gone one step ahead. A few months ago scale IV Chief Manager was categorized by one PSB as a Non-performer and was asked to perform the job of a cashier in a scale I branch. What sort of mindset this action of the Management reveals?
On 14th June 2022, UCo Bank Management has ‘found out’ that the Senior Manager of a Patna Zonal Office to be very casual towards performing his duties as Nodal Officer for Recovery and threatened him of disciplinary action. Further his salary would be stopped for the month of June 2022, the Management informed him.
On 22nd July 2022, the Branch Manager of Bilhaur Branch of Central Bank of India was informed that due to the dismal performance of his branch his salary and few other benefits like conveyance claims, Festival Advance were being temporarily stopped from this month (July 2022).
Who gave authority to the Managements of Central Bank of India and UCo Bank to stop salary of the officers? Is there any provision in payments of wages Act? Who are they to categorize officers as Non-performers? Who will appraise the performance of the Regional Heads who issue such orders? Are they applying their mind before issuing such orders?
The above are only a few incidents that have come to light. Many, many such incidents go unreported. We appeal to the Managements of PSBs to abide by the labour laws, Settlements, Joint Notes and stop any violation. Otherwise the Bank employees and officers will have to collectively challenge these actions organizationally.