NABARD employees on war path demanding immediate wage settlement long overdue

 Rana Mitra

The final settlement on wage revision based on the Charter of Demands dated 31 October 2017 submitted by ALL INDIA NABARD EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (AINBEA) is yet to be signed till date, despite the inking of the Draft Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) and the record of negotiations on 18 February 2022 at Mumbai, between the representatives of the NABARD Management and the All India NABARD Employees’ Association (AINBEA). The proposal has also been reportedly approved on 16 March 2022 in the meeting of the Board of Directors of NABARD having representatives from both the Union Ministry of Finance and the RBI before being sent to the Department of Financial Services (DFS), Union Ministry of Finance supposedly for final clearance.

Government not yet cleared wage revision

However, the proposed clearance from DFS has not come so far. This inexplicable delay of each day in signing the final settlement and its operationalization by the Management of NABARD is forcing the employees to lose in terms of real wages in the current environ of spiraling prices of all essentials. Incidentally, NABARD has had wonderful financial and other development achievements since its birth in 1982 including in the last financial year ending on 31 March, 2022, in which employees have contributed immensely through their efficiency and productivity.

Board cleared draft wage settlement

Additionally, the current draft MoS on wages is the eighth such wage settlement in a row, and in tune with all the past negotiated wage settlements in NABARD signed between AINBEA and the Management of NABARD since the first settlement on 22 February 1986 to seventh wage settlement dated 1 March 2017. Incidentally, all the past seven wage settlements in NABARD had received due clearances and approval of the Union Ministry Finance. Moreover, the tenure of the current settlement period, to be operationalized from 1 November 2017 to 31 October 2022, is coming to an end shortly within few months. This makes the employees of NABARD justifiably restive and agitated as similar wage settlements in other financial institutions are over long back.

Strengthen Development Financial Institution   

In addition to this, the issues like strengthening of the Development Financial Institution (DFI) character of NABARD through flow of concessional funds from both Government of India and RBI available till 1993 before the advent of the so-called neo-liberal economic reforms in our country, through restoration of regular significant contribution by RBI to NABARD in the latter’s fund are also there. All these concerns forced Nabard employees to embark on the path of agitation in NABARD from 9 June 2022 culminating into a full day Strike action on 30 August 2022.

30th August Strike deferred upto 15th September

Both the All India NABARD Employees Association (AINBEA) and All India NABARD Officers’ Association (AINBOA), who have formed a joint platform for the current united agitation programme in NABARD for wage settlement, have deferred their united programme of Dharna before the Parliament on 26 July 2022 at the written request of the Management of NABARD to the effect that the wage revision proposal was under active consideration of DFS. The proposed strike on 30 August 2022 was also deferred upto 15 September 2022 at the intervention of the Deputy Chief Labour Commissioner, Mumbai in conciliation on 29 August 2022 following the assurance given in the meeting by the Director, Banking, DFS, Ministry of Finance that the issue would be settled positively within 30 days. After protracted negotiation for more than 8 hours at the conciliation meeting on 26 and 29 August, AINBEA and AINBOA have made it clear that if the issue is not settled within 15 September and at par with what was agreed upon in the draft, signed MoS on 18 February 2022, the Associations would be free to escalate the agitation in NABARD, for which the responsibility would squarely lie on the Management of NABARD only.

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