by Rajesh Goyal
Today I have no words to console Aam Banker as they seems to have no clue as to where they stand as far as 10th BPS is concerned. Our UFBU leaders are like Roman King Nero, who is infamously known as the Emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned". He is believed to have had captured Christians, then dipped them in oil and set on fire in his garden at night as a source of light. Our UFBU leaders are keeping mysterious silence even when the whole banking fraternity crying about the low wages and ever increasing work load due to implementation of the new government schemes.
One among the above leaders, who is considered as much better among the lot, Mr Harvinder Singh of AIBOC, issued a circular dated 23rd February, 2015, with the heading "HEARTIEST CONGRATULATIONS ! KUDOS TO OUR UNITY !! LONG AWAITED SALARY REVISION FINALLY SETTLED !! ". It gave a clear impression as if bankers have got the historic settlement and has been finally concluded. The circulars informed the cadre that IBA has agreed to declare two Saturdays in a month as holidays (in lieu of other two or three being full working day). It also gave the impression that increase of 15% has been settled and it will be available across the scales. All other UFBU leaders also tried to sell this Agreement as a Historic Achievement without realising that they have actually sold the interests of bankers by signing on agreement for an increase of mere 2% in the Basic Pay. Aam banker, who does not understand the nitty-gritties of such discussions believed the leaders and started counting about their arrears and two Saturdays being off from 1st March 2015 itself, or may be from 1st April, 2015.
However, things started hotting up only when AllBankingSolutions.com put the analysis of the above Agreement in the following article on 25th February, 2015:-
(a) UFBU Seems To Have Made A Complete Sell Out to IBA Specially For Officers ? The fate of Bankers Retired / Retiring Between 1st November 2012 and 31st October 2017 Seems To Have Been Completely Sealed ? by Rajesh Goyal (uploaded on 25/02/2015)
The above article was followed by the article given below :-
(b) Controversies of Interpretation of Clauses of Agreement Dated 23rd February 2015 - Some Questions That Needs To be Answered Immediately by UFBU Leaders by Rajesh Goyal (uploaded on 27/02/2015)
The lower union functionaries started a campaign and ABS was blamed for spreading misinformation. One of the interesting feedback was from one of our followers who has sent this email to us quoting one MrTushar Kanti Hazra [General Secretary of the Bangiya Gramin Vikash Bank [RRB],Officers Confederation[a wing of AIBOC] : “Who is Rajesh Goyel? He has nothing to do except to mislead the officers and employees of the Bank. One single individual can not be more prudent than a collective leadership like UFBU. HE HAS NO STAKE EITHER IN THE INDUSTRY OR IN THE MEMBERSHIP BUT UFBU HAS. LET THE FINAL SETTLEMENT COME. PLEASE WAIT WITH PATIENCE AND DONT BE CARRIED AWAY BY THE NEGATIVE CAMPAIGN OF THE PEOPLE LIKE MR. GOYEL”.
It was strange that ABS got such a bashing, as we have merely asked for clarification from UFBU leaders. Soon it was realised by UFBU leaders that they have been caught red handed for selling the interest of bankers. To counter this they adopted the strategy of Mr Manmohan Singh to make silence as their virtue. Every UFBU leader involved in negotiation seems to have been given strict instructions not to disclose anything except the guarded circular which only few could interpret. They did not realise that now a days, it is extremely difficult to befool the general banker again and again as now social media has become far active and people like us use their right to freedom of expression.
Coming back to latest news on this issue. Mr Kamlesh Chaturvedi, a well known banker activist, has written on Facebook that UFBU leaders will be a huddle on 8th May 2015 to discuss various issues relating to wage negotiations. The late evening news as on 8th May, indicates that this meeting was held and UFBU have drafted some scales, which are believed on exactly the same lines which we have predicated as far as Basic Pay is concerned. The sources also indicate that now the next meeting with IBA will be held on 14th and 15th May i.e. about a week before the deadline of 90 days comes to an ends. As UFBU leaders have been put on backfoot, IBA has become emboldened and it seems they are now not budging on any concessions as far as Basic Pay is concerned. It seems workmen unions now are concentrating that they should get higher HRA (as they do not get leased accommodations) and transport allowance (may be with DA on it, but without any benefits in superannuation). This will help the cadre to get higher salary but senior bankers will lose heavily in terms of their pensionary and other superannuation benefits.
The situation of the officers is even more tricky. If they agree to have higher HRA, then a sizable chunk of officers will not get any benefit as they are availing leased accommodation. Even for transport allowance, they are getting the same on Petrol litre basis. With the fall in petrol prices in last few months, they already had a hit in their allowances. Thus, the only alternative is to introduce something like Grade Pay. However, it is almost sure that IBA will not agree to pay DA on the same and it may not be even accounted for superannuation benefits.
I am aware that UFBU is under tremendous pressure to ensure that the deadline of 90 days is not breached. However, the things have taken an ugly turn in last few months. Bankers are totally frustrated lot and have been forced to implement various government schemes inspite of the fact that there is a severe shortage of staff at branch levels. They have lost trust on their UFBU leaders. Government is daily leaking news that this bank or that weak bank will be merged into a bigger bank. The bank results have just started pouring in and the first big bank's (PNB) results do not auger well for the banking industry. I have my own doubts whether PNB can now take the risk of merging another weak bank? It will not be an easy task for PNB and lot of risk based calculations will be required to be down before finalising the merger of a bank in PNB. With large scale experienced bankers having already retired and another lot due to retire in next few months, the bank will find it extremely difficult to meet the challenge of a merger of a weak bank. The motivational level of the staff is already at the lowest. With large scale of vacancies, the knowledge level of newly selected candidates is going down, specially those who are at the bottom of the list.
Thus, at present there seems to be a complete mental breakdown among the UFBU leaders and they are not able to think of any way out to come out of the mess they have created for themselves and Aam Banker by signing on an agreement providing for mere 2% increase in Basic Pay. They are more worried as to how to salvage their sagging image. There is a strong feeling that once this settlement is signed, there will be mass scale resignations of bankers and there will be lot of resistance to pay the levy. Bankers are keening watching the silent moves of the UFBU leaders with IBA firmly in command after getting these jokers sign the MoD of 23rd February 2015, without understanding the implications. Now they are begging IBA to help them to wriggle out of this mess. Let us see what is the new trick they adopt to fool the bankers.