Do Bankers Have No Right To Spend Holidays & Festivals With Their Family – Who is Responsible For This Mess of canceling of Their Holidays Every Year?
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One of the most popular pages on our website during the months of September, October and November is the page where we display bank holidays. Why? Simple because, Banks being opened for six days a week, bankers get rarely get a chance to enjoy two or three bank holidays in continuation. Therefore, bankers who are posted outside their family station, keep on checking the holidays in their state where they are posted and the holidays at the state where their family is stationed. It is during this period India has the maximum festivals and thus all those posted away from their families, book their tickets in advance and also try to apply in advance for two or three more leave so that they can enjoy five to seven days of holidays to visit their family.
This year in 2014, some states had four to five holidays in continuation around 2nd October. Thus, large number of them had bookings for visiting their families. Having remained posted away from my family for few years, I know the efforts put up by such people to avail one or two days leave in addition to such holidays. They try to complete all their work – may be closing statements or some targets so that controlling office does not spoil their holidays / leave period.
Yesterday we received an email from one of our readers, which prompted us to upload this article. I am holding the name of the person and the Bank name, as I am of the view that these feelings are not limited to that person or that bank only. These things happen across the banking industry but few of us have the courage to challenge these with the authorities. I will say that now even bankers do not have the courage to send such issues to AllBankingSolutions.com under anonymous name. I sincerely thank the reader who has the courage to send us the email and the other details.
The following are the excerpts from the letter received by us from South India, which many of you will feel to be your own story across India :-
(We are not giving the name of the bank and the name of the person who has sent us the email).
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(Colours and emphasis added in the above circular. Name of the State has been deleted.)
Comments by Rajesh Goyal (AllBankingSolutions.com) :
I am sure every banker will also agree with the following fact :-
· The holidays in banks are announced at the start of the year and thus every authority in the banks knows about the consecutive holidays right at least from 1st January itself.
In my earlier articles uploaded in previous years, I have raised the question why banks / RBI does not have plans to meet such pre-announced holidays. To upload a circular late afternoon just before the holiday period begins is simply torturous for the people who had planned to spend holidays with their family members.
The above raised the following questions on the top management of the banks :-
· Is it the responsibility of merely the branch managers to manage the branches. Why HR Divisions and Customer Related Divisions of the banks do not plan for such pre-announced holidays two months in advance and let the staff arrangement be made a month or two month in advance for such days.
· Why banks in the circular do not announce compensation plans for the staff (it may be day’s salary or compensatory leave) who will be required to attend office during such periods. This too can be announced in advance so that local staff who are not keen to go out during that season may offer to attend the office during that period
· Why in case of emergent cases, if such a circular is needed to be issued, why clear provision for reimbursement of the tickets already booked by staff and their family members, alongwith compensatory leaves and additional compensation for working on holidays is announced in the same circular. Why staff is left to be under pressure and fend for themselves. Undoubtedly customer is important but equally important is the human resources (staff) who are required to attend to such customers
The above issue also raises questions about the union leaders who have miserably failed to negotiate an honourable wage settlement with IBA in recent times. I have seen many union leaders on FaceBook and other social medias who barge about their plans. However, these leaders rarely go beyond the routine of writing a letter or so to management without any follow up. This is merely to silence their cadre and barge that they take up such issues with management.
Aam Banker can not fight such issues on individual basis, but Unions can take up these strongly and ensure that this does not happen next time. However, we see such problems every year during last days of income tax payments, Puja Holidays etc. In few weeks union leaders forget such issues and these surface next year. Under pressure from cadre, they again make some noises, but do not follow for a permanent solution. Again next year, management issues such blatant circulars. Bank unions charge the heaviest of the monthly subscription (I will like to tell our readers that in Delhi School Teachers hardly pay Rs 10/- per month as union subscription, but still get excellent wage revision) but fail to take up the issues in the right earnest.
In my earlier articles I have written that in some private companies / MNCs, the employees are encouraged to remain with their families on weekends (i.e. Saturdays and Sundays) if such officers are on tour or out of station. They are even reimbursed the airfare for spending their weekends with their families. I am not expecting this from PS Banks, but at least the staff should be free to go to their family on weekends and on holidays. If required to be in station, this must be announced two months in advance with adequate compensation in terms of leave and money
Questions That Need To be Answered :
The above reader has raised some very pertinent questions for which even I do not have any answers. I leave it our readers and union leaders to reply to the queries raised by our reader who has asked us to flag this issue:-
· (1) Whether bankers are covered under labour laws. If so, whether this applies only to Award staff or to officers also.
· (2) What are the provisions for calling officers/staff to duties without giving them proper compensation / rest.
· (3) Where can one find the exact rule, which gives such powers to management to call the officers for duties as and when they feel so.
· 4) Whether an officers can refuse to obey such orders (As these orders sound unlawful).
· 5) Whether any unions / forums / courts can take suo-moto cases based on these circulars and issue necessary guidelines to stop these practices in future.
AllBankingSolutions.com hopes some present union leaders or ex-union leaders will throw more light on each of the above questions and UFBU leaders decide to take up the issue at industry level (It should be separate issue and not clubbed with Wage Revision or BPS negotiations. I repeat it should NOT be clubbed with wage revision or else BPS gets diluted ).
There is a need to launch a war against such issues which create unnecessary tensions among the bankers and their family. It leads to friction within the family also.