XI BIPARTITE TALKS – Updated till now
Though the period of the 10th Bipartite Settlement expired in October 2017 and the unions submitted the charter of demand well in advance, no meaningful discussion could materialize due to the adamant attitude of IBA and Government on one pretext or the other. UFBU and IBA are negotiating for more than two years since the inception of wage negotiation talk on 2nd May 2017 but no clear headway has been made till now. While UFBU demanding a fair and reasonable increase in wages in the background of inflation and changing work profile in the Bank, Management are demanding for variable pay related to performances. IBA were proposing entity –wise negotiation depending on the capital position as balance sheets of most of the Banks are stressed because of the rising NPAs. Adding to it many banks had given fractured mandate to IBA restricting the negotiations only upto Scale 3 officers in the initial stage. AIBOC and UFBUs stand is loud and clear that we will not settle for anything other than industry wide wage settlement. The following issues were presented for response from IBA in the sub-committee on non-financial demands.
While IBA had responded positively on some of the above matters, on fractured mandate IBA advised Unions to take up with concerned banks. Regarding issues pertaining to retirees, IBA was non committal so far.
Considering the inaction of IBA and some of the Bank Managements on fractured mandate and also taking into account that there is no forward movement in the bilateral talks, UFBU met on 06.02.2018 and had called for a industry wide strike on 15.03.2018. Consequent to that IBA had called UFBU for next round of negotiations on 21.02.2018.
Dharna held at Delhi by UFBU leaders on 21st March 2018 was a success. General Secretary D.T. Franco met the Finance Minister and Secretary DFS. Meeting with both of them were successful. They assured to take action including Board of Directors, Wage revision and mandate.
Second round of conciliation meeting was scheduled on Monday the 30th of July 2018 with IBA after the two days strike observed in May 2018. The conciliation meeting held on 28th May 2018 with the labor commissioner failed and it was unanimously decided to proceed with 48 hours strike on May 30th & 31ST of May 2018
The strike was an astounding success throughout the country, with participation from the entire Banking community..
Meanwhile Shri. Sunil Mehta MD and CEO Punjab National Bank was elected as the new Chairman of IBA
A structured note has been placed by four of the officers’ organizations before the IBA on 18.08.2018 on the following agendas with detailed reasoning :-
A wage negotiation committee meeting was convened on 18th September 2018 which was chaired by Com Dilip Saha President, AIBOC and led by General Secretary Soumya Dutta. It was unanimously decided that unless the issue of fractured mandate was resolved we cannot proceed with the talks and to approach the respective management of the five banks which are yet to give full mandate.
Four of the officers’ association has submitted a separate proposal to IBA on Insurance Backed Hospitalisation Scheme, underlining the following requirements
In the meeting held on 29th September 2018 with IBA, UFBU demanded increase from earlier offer of 6%. But IBA proposed performance related additional bank wise increase based on operating profit and ROA. UFBU did not agree and further talks to continue.
Next round of wage revision talk was scheduled on12.10.2018 and IBA stood firm with its earlier offer.
In the Bi-partite meeting held on 30th November 2018 IBA improved their offer to 8% which was replied by UFBU as not agreeable, and as far below the expectation and urged IBA to improve the offer. As no positive response on mandate issue AIBOC, decided to keep away from the further proceedings of the meeting.
IBA called UFBU constituents for next round of discussion on 21st February 2019 and a preliminary meeting of the UFBU constituents was scheduled on the 20th February 2019 to discuss on the media reports attributed to AIBEA from Kanpur.
A letter was addressed to UFBU convener on 14.06.2019 jointly by AIBOC and NOBO expressing their unwillingness in participating in the negotiations called by IBA on the 19th of June 2019 unless the demand of unconditional mandate is solved, and urged UFBU also to uniequivocally decline to take part in further negotiation till IBA comes forward to resolve the mandate issue.
Further bi-partite and negotiation talks with IBA were to resume after election results, consequent to the AIBOC keeping out of the negotiation talk with IBA, expressing concern on IBA being vehement on ,the fractured mandate and the issue of demand for parity of pay with Pay commission scale of pay which is yet not opened for discussion.
IBA called UFBU for further bipartite talk on 19th of June 2019 attended by the Employees Union alone as four of the officers Association kept away from the talk on account of mandate issue. IBA restricted its talk on other issues like five day banking, request for improving the management contribution to 14% to provident Fund to those officers covered under NPS, revision of family pension and updation of pension etc. Massive protest was held on 31st August 2019 throughout the country against Governments announcement of merger of Public Sector Banks under the Banner of UFBU.
AIBOC urged IBA vide letter dated 25th June 2019 to resolve the issue of fractured mandate for completion the wage negotiation process at the earliest and also cited the statute of Officers’ Service Regulations 1979 which binds all officers from Scale I to VII in the matter of wage negotiation.
Another letter was addressed by AIBOC to the Hon’ble Minister of State for Finance & Corporate affairs on the 26th of June 2019 expressing our concern on the delayed wage revision, fractured mandate and charter of demand/parity of salary vis-à-vis Central Government Officers, Working environment of Banks and recruitment of staff, Misplaced focus of Banks business, Strangulating and weakening Public Sector Banks, Denationalization of Banks, Five day Banking, National Pension System, Reckoning allowances as part of Basic pay for the purpose of Superannuation benefits, need for safety measures to safeguard, against attack on Bankers, Taxing leave encashment and data integrity/safekeeping etc,
A reply letter has been received from IBA dated 2nd July 2019 to our redressal of fractured mandate wherein IBA has asked the member banks to follow up the issue of fractured mandate with the respective banks citing its role being restricted to that of a negotiating body alone. Four of our Officers’ Association has also met IBA Chairman and request for speedy redressal of our mandate issues and early wage settlement.
IBA has vide its letter dated 30th August 2019 has requested to UFBU to suggest representatives from Employee’s Union (2 Nos.) and Officers’ association (2 Nos.) to discuss and finalize on performance linked incentive component as part of bilateral negotiations. Latest update on wage revision talk with IBA and one more round of discussion was held at Mumbai with IBA on 17.09.2019. Representatives of four officers’ association and five workmen unions participated. IBA made a power point presentation on Performance Linked Incentive Pay (PLIP) based on Operating profit and return on assets. There was exchange of views but wound up inconclusive. IBA made a final offer of 12%. On mandate issue IBA offered to resolve the issue with respective Bank boards. 5 day banking, family pension and pension updation are all in fluid state. IBA requested Officers’ association to withdraw the strike call on 26th and 27th of Sept 2019. The officers forum expressed that the announcement of merger of banks had send shock waves having a cascading effects on the entire workforce, stake holders and to the community at large.
IBA called UFBU for further talks on wage settlement on 17th of September 2019
Latest Position of Bi-Partite Talks on Wage Revision
Wage Revision Talks Held on 17th September 2019
In the talks held on 17th September 2019 it was amply made clear by IBA that PLI component is over and above the industry level settlement. Team IBA expressed that the final offer on wage revision (payslip component) is 12%. On mandate issue, IBA offered to resolve the same by taking it to the respective banks’ boards for necessary approval. On other issues like 5 day banking, family pension and updation of pension, the situation is in fluid state. Another round of bi-later discussion took place on 18th October 2019 in which major issues were shortlisted further discussions. We hope that a favourable settlement covering both serving and retired officers could be achieved.
Wage Revision Talks with IBA on 18th October 2019
One more round of Bipartite meeting was held on 18th October 2019 between IBA and UFBU. Continuing the discussions held in the last round of meeting on 17-9-2019, the IBA stated that their offer of 12% hike in payslip cost would amount to Rs. Rs. 6,319 crores. They further stated that including the cost of superannuation benefits, the total cost would come upto Rs. 11,865 crore as on 31-3-2017 which is a substantial cost and hence unions should settle at this.
Regarding 5 Day Week, IBA stated that looking to the views of some important stake holders, it may be difficult to agree for the same. IBA indicated that they are positive to consider improvement in the Family Pension Formula but observed that updation of pension would involve substantial cost and hence maynot be possible at this stage. IBA stated that our demand for merger of Special Allowance with Basic Pay would entail additional cost on superannuation benefits and hence would not be able to commit on that. IBA also wanted the suggestions of the UFBU on their proposal of Performance Linked Incentive Scheme and that they are open to discuss our suggestions.
Reacting to a court case filed in Madurai by an individual officer, IBA informed that the procedure to implement the Code on Wages is yet to be finalized by the Government and in any case it is not applicable to banking sector as wages in banking sector are already above minimum wages level. IBA also wanted clarification from the Unions as to whether any of our Unions are a part of the petition in the court case.
From side of the Unions, views were expressed mainly highlighting the following:
UFBU leaders also suggested holding of the meeting of the Small Committee for Workmen and Officers on non-financial issues including disciplinary proceeding/ staff accountability policy for officers, etc. so that the concerned issues could be taken upin that meeting. IBA agreed to the same.
We also took the opportunity to take up the issue of IBA’s guidelines and consequent decisions being taken by different SLBCs on uniform business hours, cash transaction hours, increase in number of clearing Grid holidaysetc. IBA informed that they would discuss amongst themselves and react to these viewpoints at the earliest and expressed the hope that a finality would be reached at the earliest on all the issues and demands.
Thus negotiations are entering a crucial phase and every effort should be made with unity so that we bargain the best possible settlement of our demands.
IBA under the instance of DFS directed on Ist October 2019 to all its member banks for payment of adhoc amount during festive season prelude to wage negotiations yet to be signed which came as a shock to the entire Banking Fraternity which is to be at a verge of financial conclusion of its offer to the 10 lakhs employees of the Banking Industry. The offer is to extend one month salary (Basic Pay Plus + DA) to employees who joined Bank before 01.11.2017 and half month salary (Basic pay plus DA) to employees who joined duty after 01.11.2017 net of tax.
The four of the Officers’ Association registered protest on 1st October 2019 against the Adhoc payment of salary arrears direction by IBA under the instance of DFS demeaning bilateral talks and trade unions movements. The payment was effected in all the Banks despite our respite in the matter.