Bank employees and officers have been demanding 5 day week for quite a long time. In the 10th Bi-partite settlement, it was agreed that the banks would remain closed on every 2nd and 4th Saturdays and 5 day banking would be taken up subsequently. But nothing moved from the side of the bankers in between.
11th Bi-partite settlement
During the course of the discussions for the 11th Bi –partite settlement, the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU) the negotiating body on behalf of entire workmen and officers was vociferously demanding implementation of 5 day banking. But in the the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 22.07.2020 and in the final settlement signed on 11.11.2020 between Indian Banks Association and 8 signatory unions, 5 day banking did not find a place. Bank Employees Federation of India, which was a party to the discussions and organizational actions as a part of UFBU did not sign the MOU and the final settlement as the core demands of the bank employees including 5 day banking were not settled.
Agitation on residual issues:
Owing to the indifferent attitude of the bankers in finding a solution to the residual issues, the UFBU was forced to go for organizational actions. The call for a nationwide strike on 27th June 2022 and subsequently on 30, 31 January, 2023 was deferred on the assurance given by IBA to hold bilateral discussion.
Earlier all the Saturdays were working days with 4 hours each. For 52 Saturdays, the number of working hours was 208 hours per annum. 24 Saturdays were declared holidays and 28 Saturdays were made full working days.
Difference sorted out
There was a consensus within UFBU to compensate by increasing working hours by 30 minutes during the remaining 5 days. But there was no consensus between the 4 workmen unions and the 4 officers associations as to when to increase the working hours either in the morning or in the evening. Later the difference was sorted out in the UFBU meeting held at Chennai on 15th Dec 2022 that it could be increased 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening and placed before IBA during the bilateral talks held on 31st Jan 2023.
IBA did not agree to this proposal of UFBU and suggested for increase of 45 minutes every day. Subsequently in the UFBU meeting held online on 24th February, 2023, it was agreed to stick to 30 minutes increase and not to accept any increase in cash transaction timings.
40 minutes increase in working hours
But during the bilateral discussions between IBA and 8 Unions on 28th February, it was agreed that the total working hours would be increased by 40 minutes per day with cash transactions from 10 am to 4 pm and non-cash transactions upto 4-30 pm. It is learnt that the working hours for five days would be 9.50 am to 5.30 pm. It is further learnt that IBA would expeditiously take this issue forward with the Government for implementation.
Few lines of mentioning about the rationale behind the 5 days banking is expected..
Sir our management is not at all interested in the welfare of the employes in any way. Five day week is must for us. Though our working hours is 10 to 5pm but actually we are working 10 to 7 every day. The case is worst for officers who work up to 8 or even 9pm but are not speaking on this matter. Our own jobs and social responsibilities are left incomplete. So this 5 day week should be given to us.