G B SIVANANDAM
Last week I visited Vadavalli Branch of Canara Bank for depositing cash. I came out of the branch in less than 5 minutes and in another 5 minutes I received the mandatory SMS that my account has been credited with the amount I remitted. Fair enough. In the next few minutes I received another SMS requesting feedback on my experience in the branch with a link attached. The link took me to a page containing the name of the cashier and the passing officer asking me to rate their performance between 1 to 5 and there was also a column for special comments. Bank of Baroda goes one step ahead and calls the customers, asks for their experience, asks for the name/s of the staff members who were not performing their duties to the expectation of the customer.
The whole exercise, under the guise of customer service, is nothing but harassment of the staff members, hitherto unheard of in the Public Sector Banks. This amounts to intimidation and interference in the day to day affairs and performance of bank employees through micro-management by the bank’s top management. It is obvious that Unions were not consulted as no Trade Union would agree to such close monitoring of its members by the management. The bilateralism is almost given a go-bye by the Managements of Government banks, thanks to the BJP regime, the posts of workman and officer directors lie vacant since 2014.
Defeat the unhealthy practice
The Public Sector Banks’ indent for staff for recruitment through IBPS is the barest minimum. Quite recently only 260 vacancies were declared in the clerical cadre for the whole of Tamilnadu and the indent from banks like Bank of Baroda and Punjab National Bank were NIL. It is a similar story in the rest of India. Promotions and retirements result in dwindling clerical strength and the work pressure on the clerical staff is mounting on a daily basis with the pressure to canvass for third party products and for mobile/internet banking adding pressure to the already pressurised work culture amongst clerical staff. The plight of officers is even worse. They are forced to work upto late hours, attend calls during late nights and holidays. This being so, the present exercise of micro-managing the staff of a branch every minute is nothing but a weapon the managements are using to intimidate their staff and keep them always under tension.
This is an unhealthy practice which has to be resolutely fought against and defeated.