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I have come across today the circular issued by UFBU, the brief contents (these include all the points) which are placed below for the knowledge of our readers :-
(a) The meeting of UFBU was held at Chennai on 20th November 2013.
(b) The meeting noted with concern, the lackadaisical atitude of the Government/IBA in the area of wage negotiations that resulted in inordinate and undue delay in the process of negotiations.
(c) UFBU unanimously decided to press the demands through agitation programmes (which is yet to be chalked out) including All India Bank strike (on 19th December, 2013) action as
a. there is no positive response from the Government/IBA to settle the 10th BPS;
b. in the name of financial reforms, RBI and GoI’s proposals like allowing foreign banks to enter India in a big way with near ‘national treatment’,which would enable them to take over our banks.
the recent decision of NABARD to convert the Primary Agriculture Co-operatives
(PACs) as Business Correspondent (BC) of District Co-operative Credit Banks (DCCBs)
Further, UFBU decided that the representatives of all the constituent Unions of UFBU will now meet on 23rd December 2013 to review the position and chalk out further agitation programmes, if need be.
UFBU has also referred to the fact that IBA till now has not even offered the rate of wage increase despite the lapse of more than a year.
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I hope our readers must have read my article, which was written on 19th November, 2013, i.e. one day before the above meeting. I think I have been proved right on all aspects except the date of strike, which I anticipated sometime in middle of January, 2014, whereas it has been fixed for 19th December, 2013. However, when I anticipated that strike, I was thinking that UFBU will call at least two to three days strike so that it will have some desired impact, but they have declared it only and only for one day.
Let me now analyse the above circular vis a vis the feedback we get on website from a huge number of bankers.
(1) First of all, most of our readers have been desiring that whenever a strike call is given, it should be focused only and only on wage revision and should not be clubbed with any other demands. However, in the above circular, UFBU has clubbed for early settlement of wage revision with two other demands viz Banking Reforms and issues relating to NABARD. This will dilute the focus and IBA will be briefing the government that bank unions are against bank reforms and thus are working against the government. This will only irk the government and they are likely to shelve or not even care for early wage revision demands. The issue of Primary Agriculture Cooperatives too has no relation with wage revision. Thus, GoI and IBA can easily dilute the early wage revision as the reasons for strike. Ultimately, bankers will lose one day’s salary without the main focus on being on early wage revision. Therefore, I would like that UFBU should rethink this strategy of clubbing totally different issues if they wish to have an honourable settlement for bankers.
(2) Secondly, majority of readers have always been advocating that whenever there is a strike it should be indefinite strike or at least 3 days strike so that it can have the desired impact. I myself do not agree with our readers who in the first instance itself desire an indefinite strike, but the demand for 2 to 3 days seems to be very reasonable as my personal experience of over 30 years in banking shows that one day strikes have never had any impact on either IBA or GoI, rather repeated strikes of one days irk general public and soon bankers lose even the sympathy of the general public. Thus, to have a strike now for one day and another two days in February 2014 or so will result in loss of public sympathy as public treats repeated strikes only as encroachment on their rights.
(3) UFBU has failed to take any steps to approach Election Commission to ensure that boggy of model election code will not be raised if final 10th BPS is not concluded before April, 2014 (the changes of which are now becoming more and more remote)
(4) The language of the above circular does not give the confidence that UFBU is serious about the follow up. UFBU circular says, they will meet on 23rd December, 2013 to review the position and chalk out further agitation programmes, if need be. With single stroke, they have gained over a month’s period to have their next internal meeting of UFBU and that too if need be. With this one month’s wastage, bankers are likely to lose few hundred crores of rupees in the shape of interest for delayed payment of arrears. But who is bothered for that ?
(5) Another interesting part of the circular is that UFBU has itself failed to still chalk out the agitation programme and given the details in this circular itself. It seems, UFBU had conducted the meeting on 20th November, 2013 at Chennai without any preparations or else each Union must have been asked to bring their own agitation programme for discussions and finalization, as the stand of IBA is known to all Unions since October, 2013, when it befooled them by saying that IBA does not have the mandate to discuss the details of offering the wage revision percentage. Are UFBU leaders are so busy that they could not even prepare an agitation programme for discussion in the meeting on which lakhs of rupees must have been spent on travel and stay. All this money belonged to their cadre, who earn their salary after working for extended hours on daily basis. This is called HARD EARNED money and not the subscription money received is termed as FREE MONEY.
I am sorry if some of our readers feel I am too harsh, but these are facts and difficult to deny by any banker. Although, by delay or lower wage revision, I am not going to be affected (as I have already taken VRS) and it is not going to impact my pension, but I feel concerned as I had such feelings during my service. I am merely words to my colleagues who have to suffer in silence as they have been caught in catch 22 situation, where neither they can leave the bank job, nor fight with union leaders or bank management.
I can only wish that God helps the bankers by his own means as people in power do not appear to be ready to even listen, let alone help.