Uncertainty and Chaos Continues in Banking Sector and On Wage Revision Front - What is Likely to Happen in Next Few Weeks
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It was almost two weeks back that I have written the update on wage revision. Thereafter, number of developments have taken place, which instead of showing progress in the matter have actually created much more confusion and chaos. We give below an overview of the developments which have taken place in recent days and what is the likely scenario bankers can expect in next few days:-
(A) The major development is the forthcoming strike call given by UFBU for which strike notice has been given and the same is produced below for the benefit of the readers who have not come across the same:-
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(A) WE BANKERS have been formed and they have planned an agitation on 2nd November, 2014, the brief details as released by them on Face Book are as follows:-
(C ) The bank level associations and individual members of the major associations represented at UFBU have shown open defiance for one day strike as they are the people who have to deal /work at the ground level staff, who is dead against the agitational programme as chalked out by UFBU leadership. I have read number of posts /comments where individuals have opened written that they will attend office if UFBU sticks to its policy of one day strike. I have even received letters where people have sought my advise as to whether they should go on strike as called by UFBU. I have not replied to those letters as I feel it should be left to individual’s conscious as to whether he is satisfied with the working of leaders or not. If he is satisfied with the leaders, then he should go on strike and in case they have lost their trust, then they can consider of not joining the strike.
(D ) Government of India has scrapped the panels of 6 CMDs and 14 EDs prepared by the earlier regime as CBI has found number of irregularities in the selection process. Syndicate CMD was arrested and PNB CMD has been shown the door although he was still left with 13 months to reach the age of superannuation of 60 years. Thus, now 8 posts of CMD have to be filled up and number of bankers are already headless. Every PS Bank is facing the problem of ever increasing NPAs – though for last few years, at the end of each quarter, CMDs raise the hope that next quarter will be better.
I know the process of selection of new panel will take time, but new government does not appear to be in a hurry to appoint new heads of banks. The delay can be intentional and there can be another angle for this delay, which is still not being discussed in the public domain. May be government wants to merge certain banks and in that case it will be easier as the existing CMDs will not to be rehabilitated and it will save the tussle among who should head the merged bank?
Now even the fate of Mr TM Bhasin will be hanging as his tenor too like Mr Kamath of PNB will end before his reaches the age of 60 years. Thus as IBA Chairman he would not like to take any risk of even pushing the genuine demands of bankers to GoI. Rather he may even take much stronger stand against UFBU. Thus, UFBU is likely to face bigger problems except if GoI willingly comes to their rescue. Keeping in view that UFBU has taken an anti-Government stand, the likelihood of concessions from Government are minimal. Thus, it can be long drawn battle.
Now What is Likely to Happen in Next Few Days
Frankly speaking it is very difficult to predict what will happen in next few days as things are in much more fluid state than on earlier occasions. Let me try to analysis and predict few things :-
(a) The demonstration of WE BANKERS on 2nd November 2014, is likely to be partially successful as youngsters will certainly attend the same but to bring a sizable number of bankers at Jantar Mantar remains a challenge for them. Moreover, to take a delegation to PM will be possible but it is likely to be only small delegation as police in Delhi never allows crowds to go beyond a point. Thus, they are likely to put their demands in the PM’s office, as it was done on earlier occasions.
(b) The strike on 12th November, 2014 by UFBU is already being opposed by large number of bankers and I am sure UFBU must be trying itself to wriggle out of the mess, which is their own creation. As per law, after the notice of strike, both parties are usually called for reconciliation by Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC) [Readers who are interested in details of this law can visit the following link : http://labour.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/FAQ/Industrial_Relations_faq.pdf ]. Thus, in this case also CLC will call both the parties for reconciliation. On some earlier occasions also IBA has played a hide and seek game and made fool of UFBU in front of CLC and strike has been cancelled. [Read our article of January 2014, when similar situation was created and meeting was held before CLC http://www.allbankingsolutions.com/Wage-Revision/Xth-Bipartite-Settlement/Meeting-preponed-17Jan2014.htm ]. After the meeting UFBU agreed to defer two days strike to be held on 20th and 21st January, 2014. All this was followed by snubbing
Thus, this time too IBA or UFBU may bring some new tricks and agree before CLC to postpone the strike, but the pressure of cadres is so much that UFBU has to invent really some smart trick to justify their postponement of strike. Soon, bankers will see this legal drama and outcome will be known almost a week before the date of the strike.
(c ) Govt of India is likely to play its card smartly as they are not in a hurry to conclude the BPS as they have no pressure from anywhere – there are no forthcoming major elections nor opposition can create any problems for government as this is a fairly stable government. UFBU is already a weak organization and everybody knows that they are somehow trying to save their honour so that they can continue their commercial shop in future too. As I have written in November 2013, they have lost the greatest opportunity to clinch the deal before the elections, but they felt that it will be loss as they will get much lower levy. In the hunger for higher levy, they have sold the interest of the Aam Banker.
Thus, we can conclude, the future does NOT appear to be bright from any angle. UFBU is opposed to switching to Pay Commission, and Govt wants to start executing its agenda for financial reforms. All CMDs are under stress after arrest of CMD of Syndicate Bank and unceremonious ouster of CMD of PNB with 13 months left to reach 60 years of age. Even IBA Chairman T M Bhasin must be now thinking whether he too will meet the same fate as Mr Kamath has met two days back? With eight banks being headless, it is much easier for the Government to merge the banks as merged entities will require lesser and lesser number of CMDs – government is also contemplating the splitting of the CMD post to two.
Therefore, there is not likely to be any major headway in next few weeks i.e.upto December 2014. If something concrete happens before that date, it will be a pleasant surprise for me.