Wednesday, January 24, 2024

 Bank Workers' Unity

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Enhancement and expansion of the duties of Clerks would impact!

January 23, 2024

Bank Workers Unity


It is learnt through social media that the two Unions of workmen i.e. AIBEA & NCBE have entered into an understanding with the IBA (Indian Banks Association) in the meeting of working group to enhance the duties and responsibilities of the clerical cadre indiscriminately and disproportionately making them vulnerable and accountable. All the clerks including the probationers are to be assigned supervisory job right from day one and that too independently.

It has already been pointed out in the earlier article of Bank Workers’ Unity on 4th November 2023 that 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 leavingout the other three other Unions namely BEFI, INBEF & NOBW.  

Enhancement of Duties and Responsibilities of Clerks

According to that understanding 

Single Window Operator A’s duties are proposed as under:

Passing power of cash cheque / other like instruments independently proposed to be increased from Rs. 10000/- to Rs.50000/- (5 times)

Clearing / transfer vouchers / other like instruments independently proposed to be increased from Rs. 15000/- to Rs.100000/- (more than 6 times)

Issuance of pre-signed DD etc. independently proposed to be increased from Rs.15000/- to Rs.50000/- (more than 3 times)

Cash receipt and authorization independently proposed to be increased from Rs. 15000/- to Rs.50000/- (more than 3 times)

Receipt of cash (Dedicated Cash Counters) – No limit

Clearing / transfer vouchers / other like instruments jointly with another Clerk / Officer more than Rs.1,00,000/- and less than and equal to Rs.2,00,000/- (New concept)

From this, it can be easily understood that the duties and responsibilities of Head Cashiers and Special Assistants would have also been steeply increased.

From the proposal, one can understand that out of the whole transactions more than 90% would fall within the powers of the Clerks either independently or jointly. Thus, the Clerks will have to perform supervisory job henceforth and manage the entire counter work either independently or along with another clerk.

Maker – Checker concept gone

The strength of the flawless Banking system is due to the Maker-Checker concept adopted since inception. That is, the Clerk used to initiate (make) the transactions and the Officer used to check and authorize them. The possibility of mistakes/frauds would be greatly eliminated due to this system.  Presently the independent power is limited from Rs. 10000/- to Rs. 15000/-. Now as per the new proposal, if a Clerk is independently assigned with huge powers, he/she alone has to post (make) and authorize (check).  Thus, the decades-old time-tested practice which led to flawless banking is given a go-bye for a large number of transactions. This will make the Clerks very much vulnerable.  Due to the pressure of time and volume, mistakes are likely to happen exposing the Clerks to disciplinary action besides instant recovery of money that may be lost due to inadvertent credit to a wrong account/ excess credit etc.

More than an officer’s job

With the independently assigned huge powers to the clerical cadre, they have to perform more than an officer’s job. Presently officers are not at all required to perform both the jobs of posting and authorizing cash/clearing /transfer/other like vouchers. They are required to only authorize whatever job initiated by the Clerks. But in this proposal Clerks are assigned with such an enormous power forcing them to perform more than an officer’s job with the clerical salary.

Expanding duties of Clerks

The duties and responsibilities of Clerks do not end here.  They further expand:

Capturing account holder signature

KYC, e-KYC (Know Your Customer)


Marketing including digital marketing and sensitizing customer about digital products/lending, Alternative delivery channels

Feeding data of credit proposals and loan products

Clearing, filling up ATM, Cash Deposit Machines and other similar machines and other related Alternate delivery channels

It was agreed to clarify and reiterate that the workman entrusted with duties attracting Special Pay is required to perform routine duties of his cadre.

Many of the duties hitherto assigned with the Officer cadre are now likely to be shifted to Clerical cadre according to this understanding. If this comes into force, hereafter the Clerks would be forced to go outside the premises to perform their jobs like marketing, recovery of loans etc. In that case, the counters will be left with no other person severely affecting the customer service. Further Clerks would be forced to complete the left-over jobs while they were away on duty. When the Clerks are in no way responsible for the loan sanctioned, they would be forced to go for recovery making them vulnerable.

Increased work load

With the heavy shortage, already the Clerks are suffering from huge work load.  With the expansion of their duties and increased powers and responsibilities, they would not be able to complete their job on time.  With the implementation of five-day banking, the working hours on all days are likely to increase by 40 minutes each day. Even today when they are forced to sit beyond their working hours by half-an hour to one hour, the extra 40 minutes will force them to stay further.  This would put the Clerks into greater strain and stress.

AIBEA CC seeks enhancement of the duties and responsibilities of workmen cadre

The Central Committee meeting of AIBEA held at Guwahati on 10th and 11th September 2023 has on the one hand observed that in many branches employees are unable to complete their daily routine work within the office hours and are compelled to sit late resulting in work-related stress and on the other hand decided that efforts should be made to make the workmen cadre more and more utility oriented with suitable enhancement of the duties and responsibilities. Normally only IBA used to place the demand for enhancement of the duties and responsibilities. But this time strangely the leadership of a particular Union is placing this demand.

Work-life balance of Clerks would be disturbed

The 12th Bipartite Settlement has many positive features like 17% increase in the pay-slip component, 5 days banking, improvement in leave rules, allowances etc. as understood.  The basic issues like merger of Special Allowance (this time with the accepted load of 3% in Basic Pay, Special Allowance is likely to increase from 16.4% to more than 25%), updation of pension, bringing all employees and officers covered by NPS (National Pension System) under defined Old Pension Scheme, merger at a higher point of Consumer Price Index etc. remain to be addressed.

Additionally, the increased powers & responsibilities and expansion of duties of Clerks, as proposed, will have serious negative impact.  The work-life balance of Clerks would be disturbed and is likely to increase their work-related stress multi-fold. If this would be the state of affairs of Clerks, the position of the Officers would be more pathetic. Hence, we appeal to the UFBU leaders to resist increased duties & responsibilities and expanded duties of the Clerks in the interest of all.



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