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Deferment of 4 Day Strike Has Only Fuelled  Anger Among Aam Banker and Exposed  That  UFBU  Has Deep Rooted Differences Among Its Constituents


Rajesh Goyal 

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Bankers across India kept their breath on hold for whole day of 19th January, 2015.  The visitors to our website zoomed by almost 300% waiting to get some authentic  news, as social media was buzzing with all kinds of rumors.   I personally monitored various social media discussions and tried to find out what is true among these discussions.   The long wait ended only late evening after 9.00 PM, which we promptly uploaded on our website.  However, till afternoon of 20th January, 2015, we have not come across the detailed circular from UFBU giving the details of the sub-committee meetings held on 14th and 19th January.   There is also no word from UFBU about the background which led to cancel the strikes for 21st to 24th January, 2015.  Which units of UFBU supported the resolution for keeping the strike on hold?   We have only received messages from individual leaders which only inform the bankers about deferring the strike of 4 days.

In our article dated 8th January itself we have clearly written that” It appears that the deal between UFBU and IBA is already struck and they have started building a case for cancellation of four day strike.”.  [See our link :  UFBU Decides to Hold Back 4 Day Strike Also – Report in First Post ]. 

Later on 15th January 2015, we have again uploaded another article under the heading   IBA and UFBU Play Hide and Seek Game to Befool Aam Banker About Cancellation of 4 Day Strike, I have again written that I will be really surprised if this 4 day strike actually starts on 21st January 2015.

Thus, has correctly predicted more than 10 days in advance that all this exchange of letters is a pure drama and strike will be withdrawn.   Ultimately truth has prevailed -  though in between AIBOC and other unions etc. issued circular to be ready for strike so as to boost the moral of their members and show that they are genuinely fighting for their cause.


Let us first read two short messages sent by two top leaders  :-

(a) C H Venkatachalam, Gen. Secretary, AIBEA :  The proposed 4 days continuous strike by 10 lacs bank employees under the banner of United Forum of Bank Unions has been put on hold and deferred. During the last round of meeting held on 6th instant, IBA improved their offer of wage increase from Rs. 3465 crores to Rs. 3938 crores i.e. from 11% to 12.5%. Though it is not an acceptable offer, since IBA offered further improvements during further negotiations, the proposed strike on 7th instant was deferred.   Further discussions have continued in the Sub-Committees on 14th and 19th instants wherein issues other than wage increase and pertaining to other service”.


(b)  Harvinder Singh of AIBOC : "Four days strike put on hold as IBA promised to resolve the salary revision issues by the first week of Feb 2015. If no satisfactory outcome is reached fresh strike dates for 4/5 days in the month of February would be announced. Circular follows”. 

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The analysis of the above messages :


(i)               The above two messages clearly indicates that IBA refused to talk on the issue of hike in pay slip component, which at present is offered at 12.5%.   UFBU unilaterally decided to put on hold (other word for cancellation ) the 4 day strike for which bankers have been waiting for 2 years, so as to build some genuine pressure on the IBA / GoI. In the blame game, some reports are coming where each union is blaming others for pressing for cancellation of the strike. 

(ii)            IBA has merely orally promised to resolve the issue by first week of February, 2015.   All UFBU units appears to have taken this as gospel truth, and accepted the same bowing before the Almight IBA.


No Lessons Learnt from Past by UFBU :


Some of the readers have mentioned in the comments column that my attitude is negative towards unions, and thus trying to misguide younger generation of employees.   They have every right to hold their opinion as I have every right to write freely and frankly my views.   Let me take my readers one year back i.e. January 2014. 


·         In UFBU circular dated 17th January, 2014 (while deferring the strike announced for 20th and 21st January, 2014) has written “………. IBA also reiterated that they would expedite the negotiations and conclude the Settlement by June, 2014,…………Looking to their (IBA) improved offer and assurance to expedite the settlement, it was  decided to defer our agitational programme and proposed strike action on 20th and 21st January, 2014”. (UFBU leaders and our readers can read the full circular at the link given below : )

Let our readers decide whether I am pessimistic or UFBU leaders are over-optimistic of IBA’s words.


Let us see some more extracts from UFBU circulars of  2014 :

·         Based on the negotiations held on 13th June, 2014, UFBU came with a circular dated 16th June, 2014, where it was stated “….. Since UFBU refused to accept the IBA’s offer of 11% increase, IBA wanted to know the expectation of the UFBU for which it was informed that our minimum expectation is 25% increase in the Pay Slip components cost.”  ( )


·         In circular dated 27th June, 2014, UFBU has informed “Accordingly, the delegation of UFBU met Shri Arun Jaitley, Honble Minister of Finance, today in New Delhi and submitted a Memorandum on wage revision. The Finance Minister assured that he would call for the particulars and details from the Finance Ministry and look into the matter”. [I am not aware whether  UFBU leaders  made any attempt to meet thereafter to  the Finance Ministry officials  and confront the officials as to what happened to the assurance of FM ? or was it only a Photo Session to be uploaded on their websites? ] 

·         In circular dated 13th October, 2014 UFBU has informed that “It is two years since we submitted our charter of demands. While 13 rounds of negotiations have taken place, there is no satisfactory progress in the talks because of the negative attitude of the IBA/Government. Everyone is aware that employees and officers in the banking sector are doing their best to serve the customers and implement various schemes of the Government despite innumerable hardships and difficulties. Yet, the genuine demand for adequate wage revision is being delayed and denied” ( )


The above clearly indicates that till 3 months back (in October 2014), UFBU considered the attitude of IBA / Government as NEGATIVE.  It also considered that their demand of 25% were genuine and IBA is denying the same.

It is on account of such experiences that Aam Banker is totally frustrated and UFBU has lost its credibility and trust of its cadre.   Aam Banker wants to know what has happened in last three months they they are ready to bring down their demands from 25%, and ready to agree around the offer of 12.5%?  Some of the people are openly charging on social media the leadership of betraying their cadre and having under hand dealings with IBA.  

Although Sub-Committees had meetings on 14th and 19th, but UFBU is afraid of openly discussing whether any proposal has actually been accepted by IBA or everything is only under discussion with IBA’s so called positive postures.   It appears IBA is only taking part in discussions and not committing to any of other demands of 5 day week or regulated working hours for officers etc.

Now the negotiations are entering the final stage and there is a need for more transparency and quick detailed communication (not SMS) with the cadre by uploading the details within three hours of the conclusion of the talks.  In case some units of UFBU feel that they are being pressurized, let them demand for recording of the talks from now onwards so that the bankers know who stands where?   If the discussions in Parliament can be put on live TV, why we can not have recording of the negotiations?  Why UFBU leaders are afraid?  Are they incompetent and will be exposed before the whole banking community? These are some of the questions which needs to be answered.  We will wait whether IBA keeps its words this time and UFBU able to satisfy the aspirations of the bankers.



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