Hopes alive on 5 day banking!!
Circular issued by AIBOC union dt.19.04.2014:
OUR DEMAND FOR FIVE DAY WORKING WEEK IN BANKING INDUSTRY
Our members are being informed from time to time about efforts being made by the
Confederation in pursuing our demand for “Five Day Working Week in Banking Industry”. Apart
from lobbying with bureaucracy, politicians we are in continuous touch with IBA on the issue. We
are happy to note that after our discussions in the last Executive Committee, many of our office
bearers have ensured publishing of organizational views on our demands and policies in print
media. We have sent yet another written communication vide our letter Ref. 2014/23 dated
17/04/2014 to The Chairman, IBA and Secretary, DFS, text of which is appended below. We
convey our thanks to IBA for giving us a positive ear on this demand.
With warm greetings,
TEXT OF OUR LETTER TO THE CHAIRMAN, IBA
Ref: 2014/23 Dated: 17/04/2014
Indian Banks‟ Association
Re: OUR DEMAND FOR FIVE DAY WORKING WEEK IN BANKING INDUSTRY
We would like to draw your attention to the major economic crisis our country has faced in the recent
past owing to a continuous slide in the value of rupee leading to almost a state of economic emergency.
The Current Account Deficit (CAD) shot up unfavorably and controlling the fiscal deficit was a great
challenge. For both the major macro - economic problems, the centre of focus has been expensive
Petroleum imports. The problems confronting the Petroleum ministry to restrict imports and remove
subsidies had major political and social ramifications.
We, the largest national organization of Bank officers, feel responsible and duty bound to our beloved
country and feel that Banking Sector can contribute enormously in conserving fuel, petroleum products,
electricity etc., if „FIVE DAY‟ working week could be implemented. Besides, it will serve the dual purpose
of controlling pollution which is the need of the day.
We wish to bring to your kind notice that since the last petroleum crisis faced during the Kuwait war,
'FIVE DAY' working week in Banking Industry has been our considered demand. One of the major benefits
apart from various others was to save energy and fuel. We strongly believe „Energy saved is energy
produced'. We are made to understand that RBI is not averse to the idea and IBA also supported the
move but due to lack of consistent and sustained follow up, the final decision could not be taken.
Introducing „FIVE DAY‟ working week in Banking Industry will be of immense help for the reasons
enumerated as under:
There are over 80,000 banking and financial branches and offices. One day additional closure a
week will lead to enormous energy and cost savings
There is over 10 lac work force in banking & financial sector. Over 70% use their vehicles to reach
work place and if they are off road for an additional day in a week the saving of precious fuel will
There are over 30000 cars used by the branches, offices & executives for official purposes. A huge
amount of fuel can be saved if they remain off the roads for one more day.
All Bank Branches are on CBS, which require continuous power supply for connectivity. The power
supply is not uniform all over the country. In most parts of the country, there are erratic power
supply or prolonged power cuts, hence the branches/offices have to use diesel generator sets
consuming precious fuel. Even small branches with few transactions have to maintain these
generator sets & incur heavy expenditure,
There will be a drastic reduction in pollution during the long weekends. Environmental benefit will
be many folds, when consumption of the highly polluting petroleum fuel is controlled.
We would also like to draw your kind attention towards the fact that Banks observe five days working
internationally. The multinational Banks operating in India also follow the five day week policy of their
parent organization. Some of the major Private Sector Banks like HDFC Bank also undertakes limited
business transactions through very few selective branches with minimum staff. New generation private
sector banks like Axis Bank, all IT companies, general insurance sector, Corporates and all Universities,
colleges & schools work only for 5 days a week. Our regulator, the RBI as well as Central and most
of the State Govt. offices work only for five days and few have 2nd& 4th
We humbly submit that the experience in the banking industry clearly establishes that by keeping the
branches open for extended hours or all days does not lead to increase in business or accretion of new
business. In 2009, when there was aggressiveness from new generation private sector banks for
business, all the banks introduced 7 day banking and 8 to 8 banking. Within a year, all the banks wound
up this experiment as there was low patronage and the cost to benefit ratio was unfavorable. With
introduction of so many alternate channels of delivery due to IT initiatives, like ATMs, Internet banking,
Mobile banking etc., majority of the customers in the metropolis, urban and semi urban areas have
migrated to these for their normal banking needs. The number and penetration of ATMs is much more
than branches and most of the ATMs are maintained by outside agencies which keep the ATMs available
round the clock. Now ATMs are not mere dispenser of cash, they are programmed to accept cash and also
transfer amounts to pay statutory payments, booking of tickets etc. In rural areas, the Public sector
banks have surpassed the targets of financial inclusions set by the government and have been in forefront
in reaching unbanked areas of the country. Banking services are made available to the landless labourers,
marginal farmers and other under privileged and poor people of the rural area round the clock with the
help of „Business Correspondents‟ and „Business Facilitators‟. Thus with the banking facilities available
throughout the country on ‘24 X 7’ basis, „five days‟ working week will not have any adverse bearing on
the customer services.
To sum up, with the implementation of „Five Days‟ working week, we can save huge amount of cost on
fuel, petrol/diesel and electricity, can control pollution apart from achieving desirable economic
implications as enumerated in the forgoing paragraphs. Needless to say, happy and healthy work force
will lead to higher productivity as stress level and attrition rate will come down.
In the light of aforesaid facts, we are hopeful that our suggestions would be viewed with fresh
perspective in the larger interest of the country.
With warmest regards,
Sh. G. S. Sandhu
Secretary, Department of Financial Services,
Ministry of Finance, Parliament Street, New Delhi.
(Sir, For Your information & Kind Consideration)
Monday, Apr 21, 2014
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Somasroy Chakraborty & Manojit Saha | Kolkata/ Mumbai Apr 21, 2014
Last Updated at 12:03 AM IST
Call for 5-day week for state banks resurfaces
The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) is reconsidering a long-standing demand from employee unions to keep bank branches open for only five days a week
The Indian Banks' Association (IBA) is reconsidering a long-standing demand from employee unions to keep bank branches open for only five days a week.
IBA has commissioned a study to evaluate the pros and cons of keeping banks shut on Saturdays. The staff unions, under the umbrella of the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), refuse to budge on this demand, people familiar with the development told Business Standard.
The merits and the challenges of a five-day week will be placed before the new government by IBA after the general elections, sources said.
Private banks are also IBA members but might choose not to follow such a decision; this would not be so for their state-run counterparts if the government approves. In fact, the Union government had earlier rejected such a proposal on the argument that the public's perception of state-run banks would be further hit.
"Also, at a time when the government and RBI are pushing financial inclusion, reduced working hours for bank branches could be viewed as one step back," said a top executive of a public sector bank.
The staff unions say the extra working hours affecting the health and productivity of staffers. "A five-day week is already available in the international banking system. It is also available here - the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), central and state governments, and companies in the public sector work for (only) five days a week. We have been saying it should be introduced in the banking industry. The government had rejected the proposal but we have been pursuing it through UFBU," said C H Venkatachalam, general secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA).
Unions say such a move is unlikely to affect customer service as alternative channels of delivery - such as ATMs, net banking and phone banking - will allow individuals to conduct banking transactions on weekends. In addition, it is likely to reduce cash transactions and encourage customers to use more of electronic channels for their banking needs.
"Having five days a week will lead to higher productivity and improve the efficiency of bank employees. It will also help banks in reducing cost," said Rajen Nagar, president of AIBEA and general secretary of the Bengal Provincial Bank Employees Association.
RBI's employee union supports the demand. "The work pressure in the banking industry is the highest in the country. Hence, branch banking should be done only during weekdays, keeping in mind the health of employees and their ability to perform. Technology has ensured customers can now have access to their bank accounts 24x7, without going to branches," said Samir Ghosh, general secretary of the All India Reserve Bank Employees Association.
Branch banking at top private banks is available for six days, though some allow employees to take one compensatory leave a month for working on Saturdays. Hence, many fear state-run lenders will lose market share if private banks continue to offer branch banking for six days.
However, union members are hopeful that the five-day week for branch banking, if decided, will be introduced for all banks uniformlyHope of bank employees alive!
Public sector bankers plan to ask Finance Ministry for 5-day week
Apr 18, 2014 10:44 PM , By K Ram Kumar |
To submit a cost-benefit analysis; cite 24/7 access to services via ATMs, Net, mobiles
Executives from State-owned banks seem determined to prove to the Finance Ministry that a five-day work week is feasible in the banking sector.
While the ministry turned down bankers’ earlier feelers to this end, this time round, the bankers intend to knock on its doors with a cost-benefit analysis for a five-day week.
The ministry has contended in the past that the cause of financial inclusion would suffer with a shorter week, but bankers feel that in this age of modern technology, a bank is accessible to customers 24/7 via alternative delivery channels such as ATMs, the internet, mobile commerce and business correspondents. Financial Inclusion refers to mainstream banks ensuring all sections of society, in general, and vulnerable groups, in particular, have access to financial products and services at an affordable cost, in a fair, transparent manner.
According to a top public sector bank official, the Indian Banks’ Association will carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the five-day work week pattern and the same will be placed before the ministry for its consideration.
A trade union official wondered why bank employees should be denied the benefits of a five-day week when Central Government employees have been enjoying them for nearly three decades.
To increase efficiency in administration, the Union Government had introduced the five-day week in 1985, increasing daily working hours during the five days by an hour.
According to RBI data, there were 11,75,149 employees working in 169 scheduled commercial banks in the country as of March 2012.
Outlining the benefits of a five-day week to employees in a note, the UK’s labour department said they could have sufficient rest, time with family, and time for further studies and personal interests.
When it comes to employers, the note said the five-day work week would enhance a company’s efficiency, reduce absenteeism, enhance the enterprise’s competitiveness, and retain talent.
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