Tuesday, November 28, 2023

 Creating Opinion for 12th BPS without PENSION UPDATION? 

Wage hike decision for PSB staff likely by mid-December

(According to a source in the finance ministry, the wage revision and change in work days will also be applicable to regional rural banks.) 

Piyush Shukla

November 28, 2023

Employees at public sector banks (PSBs) may see a 15%-20% hike in salaries and implementation of a five-day work week by the middle of December as the 12th bipartite settlement talks between bank unions and associations and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) have entered the final stage, four people aware of the development told FE.

“This is the first time in the history of negotiations that the offer (for wage hike) is starting with 15%. It (wage hike) will likely be between 15% and 20%,” sources at the IBA said. They added that the announcement of the five-day work week will either be made along with the wage hike notification or immediately after that by the Centre or the IBA.

The current wage agreement for PSB employees expired on November 1, 2022. The IBA and the unions representing bank employees have been negotiating a new wage agreement since then.

According to a source in the finance ministry, the wage revision and change in work days will also be applicable to regional rural banks.

In July 2020, around 850,000 bank employees got a 15% increase in their salary packages, with the IBA and the United Forum of Bank Unions signing a memorandum of understanding to settle the three-year-long contentious issue of wage revision.

Another source who is part of the negotiation process said the IBA and the bank unions will soon have a final meeting where the two parties will sign a memorandum of understanding, which will subsequently be sent to the finance ministry for the final approval.

“The salary hike will be somewhere above 15%. We are negotiating hard as the PSU banks have to take a final hit on the balance sheets,” sources said. The finance ministry initially asked public sector lenders to complete negotiations by December 1.

The implementation of the five-day work week will lead to branches remaining closed on weekends. To compensate for lost working hours, employees may be required to work for extended hours during week days, the first source quoted above said.

“Business hours will start early on weekdays and close 30-45 minutes late than the current working hours,” they said. Customers who wish to withdraw or transfer cash could do so from automated teller machines, and the only challenge will come with regard to deposit of cheques.

“Collection of cheques will be affected for these two days. I think we should be ready for that as it does not make major difference and usage of cheques is increasingly getting reduced as people are opting for digital banking services,” one source said.

With employees at insurance companies and certain state governments and the central government having a five-day work week, providing the same option to bankers is a move in the right direction, sources said.

The closure of branches would also result in savings in terms of fuel used for travel and electricity. “The discomfort to customers is more than outweighed by savings and other factors. Employees also need more family time,” they said.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

 Bank Workers' Unity!

வங்கி ஊழியர்கள் ஒற்றுமை!

12th BP Settlement: 

The primary demand has to be clinched first.

November 11, 2023

Bank Workers Unity


On 27th October 2023, the fourth round of 12th bipartite discussions was held between the Negotiating Committee of IBA (Indian Banks Association) led by its Chairman Mr. M.V. Rao (MD & CEO of Central Bank of India) and the UFBU (United Forum of Bank Unions). IBA offered an increase of 15% on Pay slip cost. UFBU could not agree to this offer as the same was inadequate to reach a finality. Hence UFBU requested IBA to further improve its offer.  It is learnt that in the meantime the establishment cost of the employees and officers as on 31.03.2022 with the stage-wise details has been shared by IBA with the Unions and Associations. During the fifth round of discussions held on 9th November 2023, IBA improved its offer to 16% of the Pay slip cost.

Welcome gesture

During the 10th Bipartite Settlement and the 11th Bipartite Settlement negotiations, the initial offer of IBA ranged between 0% to 2% increase on the Pay slip cost, whereas this time it is really a welcome gesture on the part of the IBA to have made an initial offer of 15% increase on the Pay slip cost. UFBU has rightly demanded an improved offer.

First clinch the primary demand!

At this juncture, the UFBU has to clinch its “primary demand” towards the wage revision. The common charter of the four workmen unions namely AIBEA, NCBE, INBEF & NOBW has clearly raised the pertinent demand which reads as: “Existing Special Allowance and DA thereon to be added to Basic Pay before working out revised pay scales”. Similarly, BEFI has also raised the demand as: “Revision of Basic Pay w.e.f.1.112022 by merger of Special Allowance along with D.A. payable on Basic Pay and Special Allowance at the average index for the quarter July-September 2022”.  Before clinching this, the talks have gone to the next stage of offer of Pay slip cost.

From overall load to Payslip cost

The approach of all the Unions and Associations till the 9th Bipartite Settlement was to discuss the percentage increase in the overall wage cost of the employees and officers. That overall wage cost included not only the cost of revision of Basic Pay, HRA, CCA, Special Pay, Graduation Pay etc. (whatever that appears in the Pay slip) which form Pay slip cost but also the cost of superannuation benefits like PF, Gratuity, Pension etc. As the increased per cent of the overall wage cost till the 9th Bipartite settlement included cost of superannuation benefits, the net increase of salary got reduced.  Therefore, the Unions changed the approach and demanded the increase only in the Pay slip cost with a clear understanding that the resultant cost of superannuation benefits has to be borne by the Managements over and above the increase in the Pay slip cost.

Introduction of Special Allowance:

While the 10th Bipartite talks were in concluding stage, IBA became very adamant and was not ready to go beyond 2% increase in the Basic Pay in order to reduce cost of the superannuation benefits to be borne by the Managements of the Banks. As a result, a new component by name Special Allowance which attracted only D.A. (Dearness Allowance) was introduced and was fixed at 7.7% of the Basic Pay.  

This Special Allowance was not taken into account for calculating any of the superannuation benefits. This has caused negative impact in the superannuation benefits (particularly in the quantum of pension and commutation) of those retired during the period of operation of 10th Bipartite Settlement.

Basic Pay increased only by 2.5% during 11th BP Settlement:

During the 11th Bipartite Settlement, the primary demand of all the Unions and Associations was to add this 7.7% Special Allowance D.A. thereon to the Basic Pay before working out revised pay scales. But this did not happen.

Even after 44 rounds of discussions and series of agitation programmes which included strikes on several days, IBA was adamant and not ready to increase the Basic Pay beyond 2.5%.  During Covid period, the MoU was suddenly concluded in July 2020 with 2.5% increase in the Basic Pay. 

 As this was one of the contentious issues, BEFI opted out of signing the 11th Bipartite Settlement.

Due to the adamant attitude of IBA, the Special Allowance component increased from 7.7% to 16.4% which attracted only D.A. and was not taken into consideration for calculation of the superannuation benefits. Again, those who retired during this period of 11th Bipartite Settlement were put to more loss with regard to superannuation benefits.

This is a serious anomaly.  While UFBU has been pressing for pension updation in order to render justice to those retired during the earlier settlements, currently those who retired during the 10th and 11th Bipartite Settlements are denied their due share in their pension and commutation.

Rectify the anomaly with retrospective effect:

This time also, if the Payslip cost is clinched and Basic Pay is not loaded proportionately, the Special Pay is bound to increase beyond 16.4% which would not be considered for the superannuation benefits.  This will for ever injure the interest of the employees and officers and the future Trade Union movement will find it very difficult to rectify the resultant anomalous position that would arise.

Hence in this Settlement itself, the anomaly of 7.7% Special Allowance in the case of retirees during the 10th BP Settlement and 16.4% in the case of retirees during the 11th BP Settlement has to be rectified with retrospective effect.  The Basic Pay for the 12th BP Settlement has to be constructed after adding the Special Allowance of 16.4% and DA thereon as demanded unanimously by all the Unions and Associations in UFBU.


Tagged with Bank, BWU, IBA, UFBU

November 2023



Saturday, November 4, 2023


Bank Workers' Unity

12th Bipartite Settlement – a few concerns

November 4, 2023

Bank Workers Unity


Subsequent to the third round of Negotiating Committee Meeting held on 29th September 2023, meetings of the working groups on

1. Special Pay Posts and duties,

2. Revised DA formula,

3. Disciplinary Action & Procedures for workmen,

4. Officers’ Disciplinary Procedure Conduct Rules and

5. Leave and LFC rules

were held on 11th, 12th, 13th and 26th October 2023. A meeting of Core Committee was also held on 25th October 2023. The fourth round of the Negotiating Committee Meeting was held on 27th October 2023. Various demands submitted in the charter of demands were discussed in these meetings. Truly the negotiations are progressing well at a good pace unprecedentedly. However, a few issues as narrated below have come to the fore which need to be addressed.

Discrimination in workmen subcommittees

In the case of officers, all the three organizations participating in the negotiations namely AIBOC, INBOC, NOBO take part in all the meetings of the working groups which deal with the service conditions like leave, disciplinary action etc. 

Whereas in the case of workmen, only two Unions namely AIBEA and NCBE participate in the meetings of the working groups leaving out the other three other Unions namely BEFI, INBEF & NOBW.  This discrimination has been pointed out by BEFI in its communication to the UFBU (United Forum of Bank Unions) on 4th October 2023.  “We appreciate inclusion of all 3 Officers Associations.  In the Sub Committee related with Dearness Allowance which is a common issue, 3 representatives from Officers Associations and Workmen Unions have been included. 

Pitifully, in related to the matters of Workmen, we observed that representatives only 2 Workmen Unions, viz. AIBEA and NCBE, out of 5 have been included in the Sub Committees. This is

 absolutely ridiculous and illogical” stated BEFI in the said communication.

It is learnt that all the issues that have been discussed in the Sub-Committee meetings would be placed before the UFBU meeting for approval before entering into any formal understanding with the IBA (Indian Banks Association).

Why should Union raise Management’s demand?

One more issue that is causing concern is that one of the Workmen Unions namely AIBEA in its Central Committee Meeting has decided as: “The CC approved the broad approach to be taken in the negotiations for an early and adequate wage revision without compromising on any of the fundamental service conditions and that efforts should be made to make the workmen cadre more and more utility oriented with suitable enhancement of the duties and responsibilities” (emphasis added).

 So far, we have seen that the Management only used to place a counter-demand seeking enhancement of duties and responsibilities of workmen cadre. But it is strange that a workman union is placing such a demand.   

The same CC of AIBEA observed: “In many branches employees are unable to complete their daily routine work within the office hours and are compelled to sit late.  This is resulting in work-related stress and employees find it difficult to cope up with the same”.  AIBEA union has given agitation call including strike actions to redress this issue.  Our question is when the employees are already unable to complete their daily routine within office hours and resultantly undergoing work-related stress, how would they manage with enhanced duties and responsibilities? Further, it is strange that only two Workmen Unions, namely AIBEA and NCBE take part in the meetings of Working Groups that discuss Special Pay Posts and Duties.

Why does the UFBU raise the demand for change of base year to 2016?

The UFBU Circular No. UFBU/2023/16 dated 28-10-2023 states that “We had demanded that in the new Settlement, after such merger of DA, the DA scheme should be switched from 1960=100 Index Series to 2016=100 Index Series. The Working Group has agreed to recommend the same to the Negotiating Committee where final decision would be taken”. Here we need to be cautious. Already, Central Trade Unions have registered their protest over the change of base year from 2001 to 2016 on many grounds. CITU (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) has raised serious concern over this, stating “The Labour Bureau deliberately ignored the very fact that even in the midst of economic slowdown, the prices of essential items, food items in particular always remain on the rise and did not hesitate to arbitrarily as well as drastically reduce the weight assigned to food items in the standard consumption basket from 46.2% to 39% for the purpose of computation of consumer price index”. Further it has said “Manipulation by the Govt with a dubious intent does not end here. It is also done in the linking factor for converting the numbers of 2016 to 2001 series equivalent to suppress the impact of actual price rise. Two previous changes of base year witnessed a higher linking factor of 4.93 (1960 to 1982 -22 years gap) and 4.63 (1982 to 2001—19 years gap); now a 16 years gap (2001 to 2016) entailed a linking factor of only 2.88”.

From the above it is obvious that the Union Government has changed the weightage in the basket for computation with an intent to suppress the real increase in the CPI (Consumer Price Index) commensurate with the price rise and secondly the conversion factor from the base year 2001 to 2016 is grossly less compared to those of the previous times. Presently only the CPI with the base year of 2016 is published with the conversion factor of 2.88.  The issues raised by the Central Trade Unions need to be addressed. 

At this juncture, why should UFBU demand change of base year to 2016? There is also a talk that it would entail some cost.  If so, one fails to understand what benefit would accrue to the bank employees and officers by accepting the change of base year to 2016 for some cost. It is for the leaders in the Negotiating Committee to ponder over and clarify this to the general bank employees and officers.