All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC)

The All India Bank Officers' Confederation - AIBOC is a Symbol of hope and aspiration to Managerial Class all over the world. When the supervisory workers were exploited on the plea that they are part of the Management and cannot form Unions, AIBOC came into existence.

All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) is an apex trade union of supervisory cadre employees. As an apex body, AIBOC is the torch-bearer in the trade union movement not only of the Bank Officers but also of the Supervisory cadre of employees in the financial sector as a whole. AIBOC has been a forerunner in championing the cause of the working class amongst supervisory cadre employees. AIBOC has acted as a catalyst in forging unity of bank employees and in forming United Forum of Bank Unions in 1997, comprising of all Bank Employees' Unions and Officers' Organisations.

In Banking industry, it encompasses Public Sector, Private Sector, Regional Rural Banks and Co-operative Banks. AIBOC commands membership of over 2 lacs, with an overwhelming majority in banking industry. It has affiliates in all Banks in Public Sector and 10 banks in Private Sector. Officers' Organisations in 2 State-level Co-operative Banks, Regional Rural Banks and 4 other Financial Institutions are also affiliated to AIBOC. In order to accelerate the pace of consolidation, separate Federations have been set up for Officers of Private Sector, Co-operative Sector and Regional Rural Banks under the banner of AIBOC. Likewise, AIBOC has set up State Units in all States and Union Territories. These Units have, in turn, set up District Units all over the country.

The formative years

The trade union movement of Officers in the Banking Industry in our country has been unique and eventful. Upto early sixties, Bank managements used Officers as a tool for perpetuating their interests without sharing any of the rights of the management with the Officers’ community and foisted rigid service conditions coupled with indignities and injustices. Social and cultural barriers were built around the Officers. A trade union was beyond their imagination. Resentment started developing. Officers were feeling suppressed, repressed and depressed. The developments in the trade union activities of workmen organizations imparted further need for formation of Officers’ Associations in all the banks. During mid-sixties, a tiny band of bold officers from different banks came forward and decided to fight the onslaughts of the management by formation of Officers’ Associations in Bank of India, Central Bank of India, State Bank of India and UCO Bank. The birth of such organizations was no easy task. Suspicion, vacillation and fear psychosis reigned supreme.

Nationalisation of 14 major banks in 1969 totally changed the scenario. Bank Nationalization was not only a major event in the economic life of our country but proved to be a turning point in the history of Bank Officers’ movement also. In fact the strike of 17 days in 1969 by the Officers of State Bank of India was a real fillip to the movement. The movement assumed a new dimension with emergence of a national level organization. From Bank level negotiations, an endeavour was made to project the problems of Officers in the Banking Industry to the level of the Government and a need for an apex-level organization was keenly felt. All India Confederation of Bank Officers’ Organisations (AICOBOO) was born in the year 1972. It had to its credit the struggle against unilateral implementation of Pillai Committee Recommendations, strike against anti-labour legislation - ESMA and strike for salary revision. The attempt of the Government on unilateral implementation of PCR changed the entire complexion and helped in building a strong movement resulting in a strike in June, 1978 and initiated the industry-level dialogue between IBA and Officers’ Organisations. Later, as AICOBOO was drifting away from the avowed trade union path,the necessity to give a new organizational shape to the Confederated body was keenly felt. The foundation conference of the new outfit held on 6th October, 1985 at New Delhi saw the emergence of a strong and vibrant organization - ALL INDIA BANK OFFICERS’ CONFEDERATION (AIBOC).

Vanguard of the movement

AIBOC soon emerged as the spokesman of Bank Officers. In the enormity of agitations, be it against premature retirements, dismissals without giving constitutional right to defence, loan melas or political interference in Banks' functioning, infringement of trade union rights, salary revision, pension, issue of computerization or ban on recruitment, the activities of AIBOC remained in the forefront of all struggles. Efficacy of collective bargaining and negotiated settlement, hitherto the privilege of organised working class has now become a weapon in the hands of Officers also. It has negotiated successful wage settlements for supervisory cadre employees in 1985, 1990, 1995 and 1999. The last wage revision was definitely a feather in the cap of AIBOC - the settlement proved the negotiating skills of the leadership. AIBOC, through a series of measures - organizational and legal - brought about parity in wages for RRB Officers with those in commercial banks in the year, 1991. AIBOC has improved the service conditions of Officers of State Co-op. banks also quite significantly.

Policy direction

AIBOC, as a guiding principle of its Constitution is committed to function as an independent organization. It absorbs all streams of opinion but in decision making, is guided by collective leadership and democratic trade union functioning. AIBOC took the lead in forging unity in trade union movement and actively associated itself with formation of United Forum of Bank Unions, the rallying point of industry level unions commanding 100% membership of employees and Officers in the industry.

The Banking system is increasingly used by political-bureaucrats-criminal nexus for their advantage. AIBOC has called upon all its affiliates to exercise themselves to expose corrupt practices, to stop political lendings, expose doubtful deals, compromises, write-offs and allow prudent lendings only. With the emergence of the concept to identify weak banks as advocated by Narasimham Committee-II, the .loss making banks came under more scrutiny. A proposal for wage-freeze in banks like UCO, UBI, Indian Bank and other weak banks was mooted. AIBOC found it totally unacceptable and registered its strong opposition to the move. The attempts of establishing Private Local Area banks by the Government was again an ill-conceived measure and designed to weaken the existing RRB set-up. AIBOC vehemently protested against this move and initiated trade union action through united struggle by all Unions.

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