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IBA Has Made UFBU Ullu Again  :  Why UFBU Leaders Do Not Grow Up to Reality



Rajesh Goyal 

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Latest Negotiation meeting was held on 3rd February, 2015, the results of which are well known and most of the readers must have come across the UFBU’s brazen circular.

However, let us admit that declaration of once again 4 day strike by UFBU surprised many as the overall view among bankers was that UFBU may finalise the increase on Pay Slip around 13%+ in its meeting dated 3rd February.   The feedback from the field indicates that the widespread anger among the bankers, who are united through social media and articles and views published on net, forced the UFBU to rethink about the timing of the finalization of the hike.    Let us analyse the latest circular of UFBU issued after the above meeting (Circular dated 4/2/2015):

What Does the UFBU circular says

Our Views on the same

In our earlier Circular No.UFBU/2015/44 dated 19-1-2015, we had informed that in the background of the assurance given by IBA towards expeditious wage settlement and considering the positive developments since last conciliation meeting held on 5th January 2015, UFBU had put on hold its call for 4 days’ strike from 21st January 2015.  

UFBU has failed on elaborate who gave them assurance at the time of putting on hold the call for 4 day from 21st January?  What were the positive developments at that stage?   What led them to believe that IBA is sincere inspite of the poor past record of IBA? 


I have already reminded our readers as to how IBA befooled  UFBU even in January 2014  and was able to defer the strike by assuring that the settlement will be concluded by June 2014.   Now once again in January 2015, IBA made Ullu of UFBU leaders by playing exactly the same trick and all UFBU leaders fell upon each other to accept the assurance of IBA. )


I was trying to find a word which can be used for people who do not learn from past mistakes and repeat the same mistakes again and again.   Frankly, speaking I could not find the proper word, and  the nearest word used is “repeat offenders”, which is used for criminals.  I do not know whether it will be proper to club them with criminals, though they are being charged with criminal negligence by most of our readers.

In this background another round of negotiations between IBA and UFBU was held in Mumbai yesterday (i.e., 3rd February 2015).  Subsequent to a general reporting of the discussions held in the meetings of the three Sub-Committees on (i) Employees’ service conditions, (ii) Officers’ service conditions and (iii) revised medical reimbursement scheme, the important issue of further improvement in the wage increase offer came up for discussion.  IBA sought the view of UFBU about revising its demand from 19.5% in order to arrive at a final deal.  UFBU informed IBA that the wage increase offer needs to be substantially improved by IBA as assured and accordingly UFBU would negotiate further to reach a final accord.  Quoting, once again, the strenuous financial performance of various Banks, IBA informed that the banks are not in a position to accept the demand of the UFBU.  After prolonged discussions, IBA finally proposed to improve their offer from 12.5% to 13% and expected UFBU to scale down its demand.   


UFBU circular merely talks about meetings of Sub-Committees reporting but does not elaborate any concrete proposals having been finalized.



UFBU leaders made the bankers believe while  deferring the January 2015 strike that IBA has assured that there will be substantial improvement and it will be completed expeditiously.


However, now UFBU reports that after prolonged discussions, IBA offered the increase by merely 0.5%.   This shows how novice the leaders of UFBU to fall into the trap of IBA and deferred strike in January.   Can such novice leaders should be in the negotiating panel (9 of them !!) who knew it very well that exactly an year earlier also IBA has played the same trick and game with the same lot of novice leaders.


Indeed it is a Great Leadership of 9 unions of banking industry !!


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The rest of the circular gives the details of the forthcoming agitation programme and is an attempt to hide their failures and to mellow down the agitating Aam bankers.

At the time of deferring the strike in January 2015, Officers unions have assured that they will vigorously pursue the issues relating to regulated working hours for officers and 5 day banking.   Now even after over 15 days, we have yet to hear as to how vigorously they have pursued these matters with IBA and what has been the response of IBA.   They seems to be scared of sharing the information as IBA /GoI does not appear to be giving any favourable hearing on these issues too.

Now the million dollar question is whether UFBU will be able to implement this latest threat of 4 day strike or will it back-track on another assurance or hike of say from 0.50% to 1.00%?   Will officers unions will be able to clinch the deal with 5 day working and regulated working hours?  The general belief among the bankers is that UFBU will once again cave in soon or they will soon issue different statements only to confuse the bankers, and in the melee sign the BPS. 

Although the timing of Bankers strike just before Republic Day and at the time of visit of Obama was perfect, yet I feel the timing of the strike announced from 24th February 2015 is also not that bad.   It will be the time just before the Union Budget is presented and will coincide with the beginning of the Budget Session.   If UFBU and their masters are serious, the communist parties can raise the issue in Parliament and force the government for a discussion on this issue.   In the discussions, which are live televised, the Communist parties can highlight the pathetic condition of bankers in terms of the service conditions and poor salary structure as compared to other government servants and PSUs.   Will their masters oblige or they too will cave in before BJP Govt.

Therefore, it will be a test for UFBU leaders and their masters for keeping the strike live for 4 days.   Once again IBA and GoI will try their best to bring some more tricks out of their sleeves and fool the UFBU leaders.    Let us wait whether they will again shut their eyes like a pigeon when it confronts a cat in the hope that cat will not be able to see it as it has shut its eyes.

 All these episodes remind me of one famous quote from Bible (if I am not wrong in my memory) : Jesus said, “Father, let them have forgiveness, for they have no knowledge of what they are doing”.  …… They have made the life of bankers pathetic because of their decision to divide the loot (subscription money or bribe money, if any, paid by other stakeholders) among themselves only and deprived the Aam Banker of their rightful and honest share




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