Status of Full Holidays on 2nd and 4th Saturday in Banks – Many Hurdles To Be Crossed. This May Remain a Dream For The Time Being
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We in recent weeks have seen number of messages on our mobiles and and posts on FaceBook declaring that holidays for 2nd and 4th Saturday will be implemented wef from 1st April 2015 itself. However, now it is confirmed that all these were rumors and some of these were sent as messages to befool the gullible bankers (as 1st April is celebrated as Fools Day).
We are quoting below the extracts from two recent circulars issued by C.H. Venkatachalam, General Secretary of AIBEA:-
Circular letter No. 27/121/2015/17 dated 19th March, 2015 :-
“Working Hours are service conditions which are part of the provisions of Bipartite Settlement. The relevant provisions have to be duly amended at the time of full-fledged settlement. Negotiable Instruments Act has to be amended and RBI also has to issue revised instruction on banking hours. In the meantime, based on our Minutes of Discussions, IBA has taken up the issue with the Government and RBI for due changes pending amendment to our Settlement. 2 Saturdays as holidays can be implemented only after completing these formalities. Hence units would appreciate that all these procedures would take some time”
Circular letter No 27/122/2015/18 dated 2nd April, 2015:-
“The MoD has to be translated into regular Settlement under the I.D Act amending the existing provisions regarding working hours. Further change of holiday in Banks also needs official changes in the regulations by RBI and some amendment to the Negotiable Instruments Act. All these issues have been taken up by IBA with the concerned authorities in RBI and Government. Without completing and complying with these formalities, the holidays in Banks cannot be changed.
Further, our units should be aware that our Settlement would cover only 45 Banks whereas there are other Banks which are outside IBA and also not covered by our Settlement. Even amongst the 45 Banks, in the case of foreign Banks, only workmen are covered by their mandate to IBA and not officers. Hence there are technical issues to be dealt with before implementing the change of holidays. All such issues have to be sorted out before the new holiday system is introduced”.
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Therefore, CHV has clearly indicated that this facility can be implemented only and only after the following requirements are fulfilled:-
(a) The final settlement is signed between IBA and UFBU under the ID Act whereby the existing provisions of working hours have to be changed;
(b) Negotiable Instruments Act has to be amended;
(c) RBI needs to change its regulations;
(d) Other technical issues like to make left over banks (i.e. which are not members of IBA) to fall in line with the revised working hours / days.
As per AIBEA, these issues have already been taken up by IBA with GoI / RBI etc. However, there is no clarity as to the views of RBI / GoI / left over banks on these issues. There needs to be clarity whether the NI Act amendment will need to be passed by both Houses of Parliament – if so, whether all the parties will support this move or corporate houses will ensure blockage of such provisions.
In view of the fact that GS of AIBEA has given these facts in writing, we do not have reasons to disbelieve that these are not required. Thus, now it is sure that this part of the settlement will be implemented only and only after the above conditions are completed.
Now what we can now debate is only whether GoI / RBI / Left over banks will agree with the commitment made by IBA in its MoD dated 23rd February, 2015, and the time that will be taken by all these agencies to ensure amendments in all the above Acts / Rules.
We feel it will be a long drawn process and thus bankers should NOT dream of 2nd and 4th Saturdays to be off at least in the very near future. It is only CHV who can tell, as to how much time it will take to complete all the above formalities and whether GoI will agree with what IBA has agreed. However, he is non-committal to this. Only time will tell the fate of this part of the agreement.
(upto this point, the article was completed on 3rd April 2015 late night)
STOP PRESS :
I have finished the article only on late night of 3rd April, 2015, and decided to upload the same on 4th April forenoon. However, I have just come across the news on internet under the heading “RBI nixes bank plan for additional holidays on alternate Saturdays” in Financial Express, which indicates “The banking sector regulator feels that the infrastructure for keeping key deposit related functions need to be strengthened before the banks can down shutters to enjoy a five day week.” The report also further reads :-
“SBI had sent the reference to RBI to clear the new holiday schedule. The bank employees have argued that as the stock markets and clearing houses remain closed over the weekend, it made little sense to keep the banks open on Saturdays. The compromise of the alternate Saturdays as a day off for the banks is meant to gauge the extent of pressure if the banks follow a five day week.
Thus, now bankers have to keep on waiting and again start bargaining. Unions will again make fool of the Aam Banker and delay the process of finalizing the 10th BPS. Bankers need to keep licking their wounds. It seems CHV was well aware of these developments when he issued the above circulars to calm down his cadres as they have been fooled to defer their strikes.
(Now this article has been finalized on morning of 4th April, 2015, at 11.30 AM, and thereafter being uploaded. Reaction of the union leaders on this News are awaited).