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Bankers and Union Leaders Please Wake Up  -  Process to dole Only Marginal Increase in Salaries in Xth BPS has began

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Rajesh Goyal 




I have recently come across few news reports which on first appears to be of routine nature, but if analyzed seriously has potential to upset the expectations of the bankers -  a decent increase in salaries in the forthcoming Xth Bipartite Settlement due from November, 2012.    The feedback at this website indicates that most of the bankers are expecting an increase of 40% to 50% so that they can be at par or have a slight edge  with central government employees.  However, the recent reports in the media indicates that countdown to project that PS Bank employees are well paid has began.     


I am not sure whether Union leaders are too dummy to take note of this beginning or they are hand in glove with the management and government.    There is a complete silence from Union leaders on this aspect.  


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The biggest salvo in this regard has been fired by none other than Mr K.C. Chakrabarty, DG, RBI.    In a report that was published on 6th June, 2012 in Times of India,  it was reported that this Deputy Governor of RBI, while addressing PS bank chiefs at an HR conference has said "The per-employee expenses of public sector banks have gone above that of private sector banks and today, is more than 150% than that of private sector banks. This is despite the fact that pension expenses of PSU banks are not fully reflected in their staff expenses."  



It appears bankers and union leaders have not taken notice of the timing of such a statement by Mr.  Chakrabarty.   He was due to retire on 14 June 2012 and statement came on 6th June 2012.   The attempts to get the coveted job at Asian Development Bank was not getting materialized.    The second best option for 2 year extension at RBI was also not getting through.   Finally it was on  13th June, 2012 that he got extension of 3 months (reported on RBI website).   People are talking in hushed tones that such hawkish stand may have been due to such circumstances.   Can there be a deal that let this outspoken DG be given an extension in bargain of taking bank employees head on,  when they raise voice for salary revision.    I know union leaders are totally incompetent to take on this man.    If this comes true, it will be bad luck for the bank employees.



Now question arises if Deputy Governor of RBI feels that employees of PS Banks are so highly paid,  then how bankers can even dream of a decent increase in salaries.    I feel bankers should forget a decent wage revision in 10th BPS.   It is going to be long drawn process where union leaders will make fool of the common banker and finally they will be offered peanuts.   



The above report also included the following para : "Traditionally, jobs in public sector banks were seen to be relatively low-paying ...... However, bank unions have been successful in negotiating higher salaries under bilateral pacts. There is also a large component of the wage bill in the public sector, such as dearness allowance, petrol allowance and rents that rise with inflation. 



The above indicates that Mr Chakrabarty feels that bankers needs to be paid relatively low wages and it was merely  due to bank unions that management has been forced to pay the present pay structure.    With these words from DG of RBI, union leaders will now pat on their back and tell bankers that your (bankers)  true worth is far less than what you are being paid.    Inspite of the fact that all this has appeared almost two weeks back, there are no protests - neither from bankers nor from union leaders or management.     Therefore, I feel bankers should forget that they are going to get a decent wage hike without a bitter fight.  However, bankers have to fight not only with management / RBI / IBA, but also ensure that sufficient pressure is built on union leaders for a decent wage negotiation.   If bankers do not take this call seriously,  they will get a lollipop, may be alongwith a 5 day week goody, if they are lucky.    I am wondering if DG has analysed the reason for recent high attrition rate among the newly recruited staff ?If you get decent salary as compared to other sectors, the attrition will be negligible in the banks.



In an article in ET on 20th June, 2012, while putting all praises on this "short fused and impatient" DG,  the author has proudly said "He is one of those rare bankers who rose to head a commercial bank without having worked in a single bank branch".      While reading this sentence I was wondering whether the author of the said article knows anything about banking.   In banking, any employee, who has not worked in a branch is considered as misfit even for the post of Chief Manager, AGM etc, let alone it be Chairman.    The tone of the sentence indicates that he author feels proud that Mr Chakrbarty is one of those rare bankers who rose to head a commercial bank inspite of the fact that he has not worked in a single branch.   In case a person without working in a branch rises to the level of Chairman, it is a matter of shame and not to be proud.   It smells of system failure - nepotism and corruption.    People who work in branch face all sorts of odds and are often charge sheeted for small mistakes.   A person who has never worked in a bank Branch can never feel the pulse of the bankers. 


Mr Chakrabarty known in banking circles for frequently  tinkering with the  government guidelines on promotions issued by GoI in 1980s,  and introducing all sorts of clauses to promote his own group of people and induction of people in even Scale IV and above by holding direct recruitment, now gives sermon to PS Bank heads.   The whole HR - selection and promotion process in these banks have got vitiated.    In the referred ET report, he  advised bank heads to introspect on whether those recruited from top management institutes understand the financial inclusion drive and whether they will empathy towards the poor.   


I would like that some of the bankers and union leaders, who have access to detailed balance sheets or staff expenditure heads of their respective banks,  should do more analysis and counter Mr Chakrabarty (who is a statistician and best at jugglery of the data).   If you fail to do this, you are sure to lose in the initial battle itself. 


Remember, I am a retired banker (with over 30 years service) and any increase in salary to existing employees is not going to benefit me, but I having felt the sufferings of the bankers during my tenure at the bank, feel there is a urgent need to be vigilant by the serving bankers so that they get honourable settlement and rise above the so called  "traditionally relatively low paying jobs".   Retired bankers who are wishing for updation of pension have to undergo still bitter fight.   This is a wake up call for all serving and retired bankers.


[Full article that was published in ET can be accessed by the following link : }




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