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Rajesh Goyal, Executive Consultant


Bankers have been demanding 5 days week for a very long times, specially since the same has been introduced in central government offices and later on also adopted by RBI for its own offices.


However, till date, government has denied this demand on one plea or the other.  One of the main reasons for denial of this demand is the argument that it will put unnecessary hardships to the general public who wants to withdraw money on Saturdays also.


It has been in news recently that IBA has recommended 5 days week to Finance Ministry, and we have been receiving numerous letters as to the date when the same will be introduced.  We have been receiving contradictory reports as some reports say it will start from 1st April, 2012, (some are even quoting the GOI order too)  whereas other reports indicate that it will be discussed only at the time of next settlement.   If GOI has notified the same, then why it is still untracable even for top union leaders.  It appears a state of confusion is being created for certain ulterior motives.


We at feel that demand is being blocked for various reasons.   The babus in the ministries  like to block this recommendation at least for the time being as they can easily do their banking transactions on Saturdays when they are enjoying their holiday.  Similarly, businessmen  try to block the same on the plea that they have to keep piling their excess cash for two days and in the scenario of deteriorating law and order situation, it is more risky to keep  cash in large amounts.


However, we feel that the demand of the bankers is genuine as they have long hours of working and need two days off to meet their social obligations and family needs.  Although, unions have taken up the matter yet there have not shown any urgency in the matter.   This attitude is giving a leverage to the government and IBA. W feel both of them may love to  delay this decision and  defer the same and insist on the fact that they will consider the same when Xth Bipartite settlement talks take place.


Bankers needs to the cautious on this and press with the union leaders that it should not be linked with the Xth Bipartite talks, as any deferment of this now suits both the union leaders and IBA.  strongly feels union leaders and government are hand in glove on this issue, and they are adopting delaying tactics.    Government can try to negotiate 5 days week by offering lower hike in wages in lieu of 5 days week.   Union leaders are also likely to be  interested in this, as any failure to get reasonable hike, will be countered by them by saying that they have been able to extract 5 days week for the bankers and they should not crib on lower hike on salaries.   By this article we are trying to raise the curtain from the nexus between unions and IBA / GOI.


In view of the above, Bankers needs to press this demand with unions immediately & on priority basis,  and ensure that it is not linked to the wage hike or the consequences will be on the above detailed lines. 


Union leaders needs to clarify their stand on this issue and write to Finance Ministry and IBA that these two issues should not be linked at all under any circumstances.    In case it has been agreed upon by IBA / GOI, then unions and IBA needs to come clean as to why this is not being disclosed and put up in the public domain.  What is going behind the scene between GOI and unions ? 






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