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If our readers (in all Banks) sincerely wish that this case needs to be taken seriously by unions, they must share this article with each and every officer they know OR be ready to bear the onslaught of top bosses. Simply copy the Heading Above and send to all your colleagues through email.
The recent incident wherein Mr Ajay Sehgal (Chief Manager at PNB) has committed suicide on account of alleged harassment by two senior officers – Field General Manager and Circle Head in Chandigarh area of PNB, has sent chilling reminder among bankers for this ever increasing incidents of harassment by top management across the banking industry. One of our readers has sent us a list of some recent links wherein some banker has died (heart attack or suicide) due to work pressure / harassment in the banks. I give below these links (a) to (h) :-
The above links are grim reminder of the work pressure under which bank officers are required to work. However, nobody – neither management nor unions - seems to have bothered for this sorry state of affairs in the banking industry. The above are only few of the incidents highlighted by media. There will be hundreds of other incidents which remained unreported / under reported as media is silenced by big banks and such incidents are not highlighted or remain confined to local (vernacular) media.
Can any Union leaders tell what is the status of each of the above cases? What is the follow up by unions of all these cases? Such cases are forgotten in about a month or so. Question arises who should be responsible for taking up such issues to its logical end and what changes have been enforced by Unions through negotiation to ensure that these do not happen in future?
The current case is even beyond mere humiliation of the officer. His wife speaks of corruption and unnecessary pressure for toeing the line for sanction of Rs 10 crore loan. The suicide note talks of achieving most of the targets and CM and FGM being biased on account of some other issues. Thus, it is now a matter of investigation and truth will come out only if the case is handled properly by the police. May be CBI enquire is needed.
Bullying by bosses is not new and this is prevalent across the world. However, the level of bullying by top bosses in banking industry is unheard of and I do not know of any other industry where so many officers die of heart attacks or prefer suicide than to bear the humiliation of bosses or remain under constant threat. If you are posted in a Circle Office and you are NOT in the habit of using foul language and do maa – bahan of people in the field, your GM or Circle Head will most likely either recommend for your transfer or will start using foul language against you too. This I am writing from my first hand knowledge of the issue as I too has served as second in command in Circle Office. I have also seen CMDs using all sorts of humiliating words against as high officials as General Manager in meetings where we have presence of Scale II to Scale VI officers. However, nobody objects as they fear reprisals in the form of transfers and charge sheets. This trend then percolates down below at GM level and Circle / Regional level, and to some extent at Branch level.
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Each one of us is aware of the phrase : HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF. About two years back (2012) another Chief Manager of PNB has died due to such harassment in a review meeting. We at AllBankingSolutions.com have covered the same and given some suggestions. Anybody can click here and read that article as it is still available deep into our links. I repeat the suggestions given by me at that time (in 2012) but never taken seriously by unions or management :-
“Although, a number of readers may not agree with us, but we are of the strong view that to start with, the Board of each Bank should form a Committee at Head Office level to deal with the abusive behavior by regional heads / zonal heads / circle heads / GMs / EDs / CMDs in open forums like Manager's review meetings. The Committee should have at least two Directors (except CMDs / EDs ) as its members, one official from association / union, one member from Ministry of Finance, one member from RBI. All complaints of abuse during the meeting should be dealt by this Committee.
The said Committee can meet once a quarter to review the complaints received by them. In case complaints of misbehavior are received on more than two occasions for the same officer, then it should be made compulsory that the proceedings of the all meeting chaired by him / her, are recorded on camera. (Now a days the recording of proceedings is very easy and it is also not costly at all as most of the Regional offices / circle offices / Zonal offices have IT infrastructure in place for such recordings). We hope if such a policy is adopted by each bank, soon the abuse of middle level / senior officers will drastically get reduced. This will also certainly help in reducing the corruption in banking industry”.
Now question arises what did Unions do during these two years to ensure that such things do not repeat itself. Are unions meant to merely collect monthly “chanda” (subscription) and collected money to be spent on hotels, airfares etc. The above formula may not be the best one. Then, let another formula which can be better than above be evolved and finalized after discussions with IBA and MoF. However, no union leaders ever discussed the issue again and the case seems to have been successfully buried.
The sacrifice of Mr Ajay Sehgal should not go waste. There is a need to gear up the unions at all India level as this problem is across banking industry and covers almost whole of India. Let UFBU intervene in the issue and have an exclusive meeting with IBA and MoF officials on this issue and above proposal or any other better proposal which can produce evidence in such harassment cases be discussed and finalized and implemented in all banks within say three months i.e. end of September 2014.
This is the need of the hour and UFBU must take up the issue or else officers will keep on suffering at the hands of the corrupt, bullying bosses. Some of officers who are emotionally sensitive may opt for soft option of suicide.
PNB has failed to take appropriate action against the FGM and CH who have been named in the suicide note. It is reported that top management considers that this suicide can be due to family problem. Police does not know the whereabouts of both these officials (as per reports of HT) and PNB was not committing itself whether they are on leave or absconding from duty. If they were on leave, who sanctioned their leave and on what grounds the same was allowed? If they are absconding whether PNB has issued any show cause notice ? If they were on duty, then why police is saying that they are not aware ofthe whereabouts of both officials. All these questions must be haunting the PNB staff and family of the deceased. As per PNB's website, Transfer and Posting of Senior Officers dated 5th July, 2014, Mr J K Gupta (FGM, Chandigarh) has been asked to report to HO for further assignment; whereas Mr A K Gupta (Circle Head, CO Chandigarh) has been transferred to DGM, FGM office, Lucknow.
Initially HT reports indicated that "The Punjab National Bank Officers' Association has given an All-India call for strike on July 7 and 9". Now on 6th July, 2014, I have received a message wherein Mr Dilip Saha, GS, AIPNBOA has confirmed that ALL ACTION PROGRAMMES have been DEFERRED as PNB has taken action and transferred FGM and CH. It is reported that CMD has asked FGMs / CHs to respect human values and proper dealing with juniors etc. etc. AIPNBOA has even sent congratulating message to their members for their solidarity & support. It is shocking to read "congratulating messages of union" when officers are still seething with anger for the proper response of management for the action.
I leave it to our readers to decide whether mere transfers in this case are sufficient justice for the family of Mr Ajay Sehgal.
Personally, I feel that Part I of burying the case was completed when PNB issued merely the transfer orders of these officials and took them away from police net. Now Part II is also complete when Unions have accepted this as sufficient action. Wait for another week or so when everybody will forget about the case and police sends the file to Archive room. However, Comments on FB give some idea of the thinking of Aam Banker on the decision taken by management / Unions of PNB. This case too is likely to meet the same fate as the case quoted by us two years back.
P.S. : Social Media has large number of comments. I am giving below some of those comments which should be eye opener for management and union leaders :
(A) Hard Hitting Comments by Preet Sain on FaceBook after transfer of the two officials from Chandigarh:
"Strange..... transfer as a punishment for murdering someone...kuddos to CMD and all those who consider it as a justifiable action.....they have to be suspended.. transferring is actually helping them to be away from chandigarh police.. and delay the further police action...
I spit on this decision.. and all those who agree on it....once again ...clearly proved... water flowsfrom Top to bottom.. none other than Mr CMD is responsible for it.. this was his litmus test.. and his actions have spoken wat he is.. this is PNB for which u served 23 yrs ...RIP Sehgal ji..."
(B) Comments of Charu Bhattacharya from PNB who is also very active on FB and does not mind calling a spade a spade. These comments remind all of us about various other problems being faced by officers in banks, which ultimately put so much pressure that one is forced to think of taking extreme step :-
क्या आप मान सकते है की नेताओ को पता नहीं है की बहुत से मंडलों में :-
- समस्त अधिकारी महीने मैं कम से कम दस दिन काउंटर पर बैठते हैं और लिपिकीय कार्य करते हैं.
- अधिकारियो पर अनुचित कार्य करने का प्रबंधतंत्र द्वारा दबाव दिया जाता है.
- पी. ऍफ़. रेटिंग ख़राब कर दी जाती है उन की जो मुह खोलते है
- छुट्टियाँ मांगो तो लगता है जैसे उनकी नानी मर गयी हो
- थर्ड पार्टी प्रोडक्ट्स बेचने की लिए धमकाया जाता है.
- प्रत्येक अधिकारी रोज कम से कम तीन घंटा ओवरटाइम करता है.
- हर शाखा में अंडर staffing है
- जरा जरा सी बातो पर chargesheet होती है
- कई तो बात ऐसे करते हैं जैसे की उनकी ससुराल से दहेज़ में हमें नौकर बना कर भेजा गया है
- कई बड़े अधिकारी केवल पैसे कमाने में लगे हैं.
(C) TRUTH : The following lines on FB uploaded by Pramod Ranjan Kukreti, which depict the truth in this case about PNB Management, and the attitude of Union Leaders following the transfer orders. [ Please read carefully and try to follow the message ]
शहर के चौराहे पर
याचना भरी नजरों से
और मुझे ,